“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
When one thinks of an ICON, religious iconographic images of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary may come to mind, or musical icons like Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson. But, in Fashion, the icons are alive and well, living in their brands and fans.
Coco Chanel was so enchanted with pockets that this would prove to be the main focus of her designs in handbags for women!
For Chanel, design started as a hobby.
Chanel started her career by designing hats which later became popular among the aristocratic Parisians within her friends' social circles. At first, they were for her friends who were the high-class call girls of the time, and she soon made a name for herself among the bourgoisie.
From Hosiery to high fashion:
Coco Chanel used to work as a clerk in a small hosiery shop. Her sister was the real seamstress and got Coco a job with her in a shop sewing hosiery, among other things. It was hosiery that revolutionized her fashion world, taking her boyfriends' wool jersey long johns and turning them into warm wool dresses. Her boyfriend of the time was a coal broker and knew that WWI would change the world and told her to make warm clothes for women. Though she designed prior to WWI, she took his advice and produced knit dresses for women, under which they couldn't wear corsets. This was considered risque at the time, but she literally revolutionized women from the corset!
Coco made the sun tan fashionable!
It was Coco Chanel who made a tan seem fashionable when she got burnt by sun's rays in 1923 on a cruise towards Cannes! It soon became associated with those who had time to "leisure" on the beach!
Coco wanted to be an actress, and even auditioned on the stage.
Coco was her "stage name." Her real name was Gabrielle. She thought she could sing and dance, however, never really made it past the vaudeville stage and clubs. These clubs did turn out to be quite lucrative, introducing her to some powerful Parisians who helped launch her career.
Hotel Ritz was her home, with her first shop on the Rue de Cambon.
For more than 30 years Coco Chanel made the mighty hotel Ritz in Paris her home! It was rumored that German officer Dincklage (with whom she was having an affair) made arrangements for her to stay in the hotel.
She opened her first salon on the Rue de Cambon. The salon was modest, with living quarters above. It soon became the showroom and the exclusive location for her fashion showings for her private clientele. She would position herself on the top of the stairs, down which the models would walk wearing her latest creations.
“There are people who have money and people who are rich.” ~ Coco Chanel
5 was her favorite number
She believed there was something special in the number 5 - enough that Chanel No. 5 was introduced on 5th May 1921!
Coco Chanel might have dated and had affairs with plenty of men but she never married.