I’m sure many if not all of you readers have heard of the brand Chanel. From clothing, to handbags, and perfume this famous and luxurious brand has it’s hand in all aspects of the fashion world. How exactly did this brand come to be so famous and where did it get its beginnings from? How did it become so successful and who really is CoCo Chanel the woman behind it ALL! Sit back and read on my friends we have the whole story for you!
Coco Chanel, real name Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, was born on Aug. 19,1883 in Saumur, France. Some may envision she was born into a life of privilege and luxury, however this is definitely not the case. Instead Coco, grew up in an orphanage where she was taught how to sew. Once she was out on her own in the world she had a brief signing career that lead to her name being changed to Coco. On the music scene she was known as Coco and it soon carried over into her everyday life. Although her singing career didn’t last long, she still found passion in sewing and creating clothes. In 1910 she opened her fist clothing store in Paris where she sold hats! With its success she quickly expanded and had stores in Deauville & Biarritz as well. In 1920 she launched her first ever perfume named Chanel No. 5. She was the first designer to ever brand a perfume with her own name. In order to distribute this perfume she agreed upon backing by department store owner Theophile Bader and two business partners and brothers Pierre & Paul Wertheimer. Paul & Pierre would receive 70 percent of the profits, Bader 20%, and Coco herself only 10%. With the perfumes great success Coco fought hard over the years to renegotiate the first agreement!
Although Coco Chanel saw great success for many years with both her perfume and clothing line, she eventually ran into some very rough waters. In 1930 with the economic depression in full swing she began to see a negative effect on her brand and company. With the start of World War II she was forced to close her stores doors for good. But wait, it gets worse. During the war Coco Chanel was close friends with a German Military Officer and was allowed to stay living in her apartment when most others had to leave. When the war ended many threw shade, hate, anger and disgust toward Chanel. They thought of her as a traitor and being in conspiracy with the Nazi’s. She could not escape the negativity and the hatred that was continuously thrown at her by others. Coco Chanel then left Paris and the fashion world and was not heard of for many years.
Making a Come Back
We mustn’t underestimate this woman however. At the age of 70 she made a come back into the world of fashion. At first her return was received with horrible and hurtful reviews. This did not stop Coco, in fact it probably only pushed her harder. After a bit of time she began to regain her fame and respect from all those in the fashion world and those in the consumer world. Coco Chanel’s story simply goes to show that there will always be accomplishments and defeats in business, hey in everyday life to be completely honest. But if you are determined and want something bad enough you will find a way and persevere. Although Coco died January 10, 1971, her designs and fashion presence, womens suits, little black dresses, and perfume have left an everlasting trademark on the world! Her designs were revolutionary during a time and era where they stood out and often stood alone at first. Perhaps one of my favorite quotes of the great Coco Chanel, although she was speaking of clothes, is “ Luxury must be comfortable, or it’s not luxury”. I have taken it to mean it might not be comfortable getting there but if it’s done right and with tenacity and hard work it’s beyond enjoyable once you get there!