Biography Coco Chanel Fashion Designer
Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel was born in 1883 in the small city of Samur, France. Her mother died when she was six and, soon after, her father abandoned her and her four siblings. The children were placed in the care of relatives but spent some time in a French orphanage. The stark dress of the nuns in this environment greatly influenced her later classic designs; the little black dress, squarish suits and mannish styles. He generously gave her the financial backing for her first hat shop, which she opened in 1913. Her real break, however, came in the early 1920s when Capel came to the financial rescue once again, this time for her famous dress shop, which was located at 31 Rue Combon. By this time, Channel’s “practical working costume” designs were very popular, so much so that she opened two boutiques; one in Paris and one in Biarritz. These shops employed more than 300 people in a time when jobs were scarce. In 1921 she developed the fragrance which would make her forever renown, Chanel No 5.
She never married and during the Nazi occupation in Paris made the Hotel Ritz her home. During this time she was highly criticized for taking a German military officer as a lover. She closed her boutiques and spent fifteen years in exile in Switzerland. In 1954 she emerged again and renewed her 1930’s designs. Once again, they flourished and she found work in the 1950s and 1960s dressing the stars: Liz Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Anne Baxter, to name a few.?Chanel passed away on January 10, 1971, leaving a fashion legacy that is unsurpassed to this day. The House of Chanel in Paris, remains one of the top design houses. Chanel herself once said: “Fashion is not simply a matter of clothes. It is in the air, born on the wind. One intuits it. It is in the sky and on the road.”