By: Nazirah Lewis
Gabrielle Bonheur better known as Coco Chanel was born on August 19, 1883 in Saumur, France. Where she began a singing career, performing at clubs causing her to receive the nickname "Coco" after being put into foster care & being raised by nuns. Chanel was living in Paris where her fashion company began setting off, but soon after she was criticized for "betraying" her country because of her relationship with a Nazi officer. During this time in history it affected her life causing her to return to her country home in Roquebrune.
She became a known icon after she met her second wealthy friend who was also a venture to her like her first friend. After agreeing to make jersey dresses for others after being seen wearing a jersey dress on a chilly day, in 1910 she opened her first shop located on Paris's Rue Cambon in Paris. In the 1920's she sold her first perfume, Chanel No. 5 which was a first to feature a designer's name. Another thing she put to a trend was black dresses to show for evening wear and not just to represent mourning. In the 1930s the economic depression had a huge negative impact on her business causing her to fire her employees and shut her company down. In 1969, Chanel's life story became the basis for the Broadway musical Coco.
Coco never got married but started a decades-long relationship with the wealthy duke of Westminster. She was reported saying"There have been several Duchesses of Westminster- but there is only one Chanel!" when she heard about his marriage proposal. When it came to men she would always say "I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird."
On January 10, 1971 Coco Chanel died at her apartment in the Hotel Ritz
Things to know:
Chanel's father was a peddler and he put her in an orphanage after her mother died.
She told author, Paul Morand "My fortune is built on that old jersey that I'd put on because it was cold in Deauville."
In 1925, she introduce the legendary Chanel suit was collarless jackets and well-fitted skirts.