Paris fashion houses have been setting the trend for decades and there is just no getting away from the fact that everything the French do is with incredible style. From haute cuisine to haute couture, the world has always taken their hats off to these marvellously stylish Europeans and there is no one more famous than Coco Chanel.
Coco Chanel was the epiphany of style with her very uniquely designed outfits that women all over the world covet. A simple elegant Coco Chanel handbag is a sign of great chic and tremendous taste where fashion conscious ladies are concerned. Jacqueline Onassis, Catherine Deneuve and Grace Kelly all wore her exquisitely designed suits with tremendous flair. Her fashion house and its’ ingenious logo became synonymous with having reached the very pinnacle of success.
Her first millinery shop was opened in Paris in 1910 with the help of two gentlemen, a wealthy military officer and an English industrialist both of whom helped her find female clients among the society elite of the day. Her hat designs soon became extremely popular and it was not long before she expanded and opened two more shops, one in Deauville and the other in Biarritz.
Coco Chanel starting creating her now famous outfits and women loved them because this casual style meant getting away from the restricting corsets that were worn at the time. Her simple designs, cleverly tailored suits made out of jersey and her bell bottomed trousers were a huge success. Together with her perfume range, which she created and launched in 1922, Coco Chanel No 5 is as popular today as it was back then.
She took on a partner for her perfume business in 1924, namely Pierre Wertheimer, who many think was her lover too. He owned 70% of the company whilst Coco Chanel kept just 10% with 20% going to her friend Bader. The Wertheimers still own and control the Coco Chanel perfume business to this day. It was in 1925 that Coco Chanel introduced her now extremely famous cardigan jacket and of course the ‘must have’ little black dress. The amazing part about her designs was that they were truly timeless and her collection did not change for generations.
Coco Chanel was a free spirit but during World War II served as a nurse. However, she did have an affair with a Nazi officer which stood her in bad stead with the French public. She lived for a time in Switzerland after the war and it was not until 1954 that she made a comeback and reached the pinnacle of Haute Couture with her simple but lovely designs.Katherine Hepburn starred in a Broadway musical called ‘Coco’ in 1969 which was based on Coco Chanel’s life.
This amazing French lady was a survivor with taste who kept on working right up until her death in 1971. Her famous logo, perfumes, outfits were kept alive by another fashion guru, Karl Lagerfeld.