Coco Chanel

Anything you've ever wanted to know about Coco Chanel and more...

Coco Chanel

  •  Coco Chanel is the founder of the  French fashion house  Chanel, that specialises in haute couture, ready-to-wear garments, luxury goods, bags and accessories.




Early Life and Education

  • Chanel’s founder, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was born in 1883 to a laundry woman and a street peddler.
  • Her early life was very unstable, moving from one market town to the next.
  • At the age of 12 her mother passed away from bronchitis and she and her two sisters were sent to an all-girls Catholic orphanage.
  • It was at the orphanage that Chanel learned to sew, which made it easy for her to find a job as a seamstress after leaving at the age of 18.
  • When not doing her day job, Chanel worked as a cabaret singer, which is where she was given the now internationally known nickname of ‘Coco’.



  • Coco Chanel began designing hats and opened a hat shop in 1910.
  • After the failure of her shop, Chanel’s love interest Captain Artur Edward Capel financed her new shops.
  • Chanel’s career took off when the actress Gabriel Dorziat modelled her hats in the theatre production of Bel Ami in 1912.
  • Coco launched her career as a fashion designer while opening her new boutique called Chanel-Biarritz.
  • It catered to the rich Spanish people that vacationed in Biarritz.



  • Coco Chanel’s iconic designs include the belted, oversized jersey worn over pants or a skirt, the ‘Chanel Suit’ – a boxy, collarless jacket paired with a skirt, ‘The Chanel Quilted Handbag’ and perhaps her most important contribution to the fashion industry, ‘The Little Black Dress’.


Present day

  • In 1983 couturier Karl Lagerfeld became chief designer at Chanel.
  • He changed Chanel’s fashion lines from what they were, to include shorter cuts and eye-catching designs.
  • Lagerfeld remains chief designer and debuted his Fall-Winter 2012-2013 collection entitled “An Alien World’ in March 2012.



“A collection is about what one feels, whatever it is.” – Karl Lagerfeld


Images found here, here, here and here.

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