Born in 1883 Coco Chanel became a true matriarch of haute couture. A true visionary she provided women the sort of comfort and ease that had previously been reserved to men’s fashions.
In her youth she frequented the demi-monde and by 1909 she had opened a milliner’s shop, in Paris . A mark of her independence it can certainly be argued that she contributed to the emancipation of women. She created hats of sublime simplicity that the fashionable horse racing set cherished.
The year 1913 saw Chanel open a boutique in Deauville , Normandy , and launch her first jersey Tailored suits.
In 1920, Paris was the world’s capital of the arts and Chanel had established herself at the centre of this world. She was a pioneer and each achievement pushed the envelope a little further, the No. 5 perfume was the first launched by a courturier.
The Little Black Dress
In 1926, Chanel introduced the famous little black dress. Coco Chanel had published a picture of a short, simple black dress in Vogue. It was calf-length, straight, and decorated only by a few diagonal lines. Vogue called it “Chanel’s Ford”.
Like Ford’s Model T, the little black dress was simple and accessible for women of all social classes. Vogue also said that the little black dress would become “a sort of uniform for all women of taste”. How true…
German designer Karl Lagerfeld assumed the artistic directorship of the House of Chanel in 1984. He has steared the company to greater success with his artistry and some luck such as the media coup that saw his fellow country woman and super model Claudia Schiffer succeed the French model Inès de la Fressange.
She died in 1971.