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Coco Chanel - a style icon for the ages

Coco Chanel and her 'little black dress' that she introduced to the fashion and style world in 1920.

Coco Chanel and her 'little black dress' that she introduced to the fashion and style world in 1920.

Karl Lagerfeld, the head of the House of Chanel today and its present designer.

Karl Lagerfeld, the head of the House of Chanel today and its present designer.

The Chanel Revolution - from her film biography

Coco Chanel 1883 - 1971

She lived an unconventional life during her lifetime and reached the pinnacle of the fashion industry as a style icon and became the world's wealthiest woman and clothing designer. She left bold and lasting impressions on women's fashions and introduced to women timeless designs, trademark suits, and the little black dress with pearls.

She began by liberating women from the corset and popularized sportive, casual chic designs made of jersey in the post WWI era. Her fashion and style influence extended beyond just couture clothing by also designing jewelry, handbags and fragrances.

Her signature fragrance scent, Chanel No. 5, still sells as strongly today as it did when she first presented this iconic product in 1920.

She is, of course, Coco Chanel, the style icon of the 20th century and beyond; her fashion designs even eclipsing her death. Today, German clothing designer Karl Lagerfeld heads the House of Chanel in Paris and continues on with her timeless designs as chief designer for the house.

Coco Chanel is my favorite of all dress designers past and present. The simple, clean lines of her suits and dresses are the height of elegance. Her collarless suit jackets and slim fitted skirts are the epitome of the classic elegant woman's suit. Her designs have lived on under the sharp designer eye of Karl Lagerfeld and no one but he could have picked up the reigns of the House of Chanel after her death and continued her lovely designs.

Her timeless fragrance, Chanel No. 5, I have worn all my life. It enters and leaves the room with an elegant scent.

And, her invention of the 'little black dress' with several strands of pearls has been the anchor of a woman's wardrobe since 1920. She designed clothes that have last a lifetime and beyond. Even into the 21st century her beautiful designs are still famous, popular and work well with the minimalism of this century.

Present day designs from the House of Chanel.

Present day designs from the House of Chanel.

A young Coco Chanel before she became a famous clothing designer.

A young Coco Chanel before she became a famous clothing designer.

Coco Chanel's first hat design from 1913.

Coco Chanel's first hat design from 1913.

The casual jersey designs of Coco Chanel from 1917.

The casual jersey designs of Coco Chanel from 1917.


Coco's beginnings

Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883 in Saumur, France in the Loire Valley to a poor, unwwed mother. Her mother, Eugenie "Jeanne" Devolle was a laundrywoman in a charity hospital in Saumur and she was Devolle's second daughter.

Her father, Albert Chanel, was a poor street vendor who peddled work clothes and undergarments from house to house. It is from these humble beginnings that Chanel rose to become the most famous clothing designer in the world.

Her parents did marry in 1884 at the insistence and a monetary bribe from her mother's parents to the groom, Albert Chanel. They had five other children: Julia-Bertha, Antionette, Alphonse, Lucien, and Augustine, who died in infancy.

In 1895, when Gabrielle was twelve, her mother died of bronchitis and her father sent all the girls to a Catholic convent for the poor. Here Gabrielle learned to sew and this would be her skill offered to the world in beautiful clothing designs.

At age 18 she left the convent and went to live at a Catholic boarding house for single girls in Moulins, France. Here Gabrielle began life as a seamstress and in the evenings sang in a cabaret frequented by calvary officers. It was here she acquired the name 'Coco', the nickname believed to have come from the two songs she sang each night or as an allusion to a 'coquette' which in French means a kept woman.

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She eventually returned to Moulins, France as she realized there would be no stage career for her other than in the chorus. It was here in Moulins for the second time that she met a young French ex-calvary officer and a wealthy textile heir, Etienne Balsan.

At age 23, she became his mistress and for the next three years she lived with him at his chateau Royallieu near Compiegne, France, an area known for its equestrian and hunting pursuits.

Chanel and Balsan lived a life style of self-indulgence, wealth, leisure and cultivated a social set of partying and decadence. Balsan lavished Chanel with 'diamonds, dresses and pearls.' Thus began a lifetime of becoming men's mistresses and lovers and she achieved success as a businesswoman and her social prominence from the connections she made through her work.

Her biographer, Justine Picardie, in her book, Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Harper Collins) has described Chanel as having a competitive and opportunistic personality that led to questionable life choices.

In her biography, Picardie claims that Chanel's nephew, Andre Palasse, was really her son by Balsan, sent to live with her sister, Julia-Bertha. With Julia-Bertha's death, Coco was known to be 'raising her nephew' who she ensconsced in boarding schools until he was grown.

Chanel never married and remained independent all her life though she dallied with wealthy, aristocratic men all her life. These life choices led to controversy around her reputation, particularly during the German occupation of France during WWII, when she was seen in the company of a German officer.

Chanel began her illustrious clothing designer career during her time with Balsan and used his money to become a designer of hats first. She turned the hat designing into a commercial business and became a licensed milliner in 1910. She opened her first shop at 21 rue Cambon, Paris and named it Chanel Modes.

She moved on from Balsan in 1908 and began an affair with Balsan's friend, Captain Arthur Edward 'Boy' Capel, an Englishman, who eventually became the love of her life. Both men fought over her, which Chanel enjoyed, and Capel won out. He was a wealthy member of the English upper class and bought Chanel a Paris apartment and financed her first shop.

Capel's own style influenced Chanel's as the design of the Chanel No.5 parfume bottle with its rectangular beveled lines is believed to have been a copy of Capel's toiletry bottles he carried in his leather traveling case.

Chanel's affair with Capel lasted nine years but during that time he was never faithful to her. He married Lady Diana Wyndham in 1918, but continued his affair with Chanel until his death in a car accident in 1919. Chanel was devastated by his death and felt she had lost everything. She said that she was never truly happy again after his death.

During her time with Balsan and Capel, Chanel also opened two other stores. One was a boutique in Deauville, France and financed by Capel. Here she introduced her signature deluxe casual clothes for leisure and sport. Her clothes were revolutionary because they were made from fabrics such as jersey and tricot, a fabric primarily used for men's underwear. They were soft and clung to the body, something never seen or worn before Chanel's designs. She was revolutionizing women's clothing.

They were flexible and comfortable and worn without corsets and became wildly popular. Chanel also sold hats, jackets, sweaters and mariniere which were sailor blouses, at her boutique. Her sister, Antoinette and her aunt, Adrienne were very supportive of Chanel and modeled her dress designs at the boutique and walked through town wearing and advertising Chanel's creations.

Chanel also opened a boutique in Biarritz in 1915, a beach resort town in southern France that bordered on Spain on the Cote Basque. Wealthy Spanish and French women flocked to Chanel's boutique making it popular and Chanel wealthy.

The Biarritz boutique was in a villa opposite a casino, and in one year Chanel was able to repay Capel his initial investment and became totally independent.

The House of Chanel at  31 rue Cambon in Paris, France.

The House of Chanel at 31 rue Cambon in Paris, France.

The Chanel suit

The Chanel suit

Coco Chanel's signature fragrance created by Ernst Beaux consisting of jasmine, rose, and sandalwood, to name a few of the scents.

Coco Chanel's signature fragrance created by Ernst Beaux consisting of jasmine, rose, and sandalwood, to name a few of the scents.

The Chanel handbag with the shoulder strap that Chanel invented.

The Chanel handbag with the shoulder strap that Chanel invented.

The camillia flower became a symbol of the House of Chanel, and Coco Chanel wore them many times on her 'little black dress.'

The camillia flower became a symbol of the House of Chanel, and Coco Chanel wore them many times on her 'little black dress.'

Coco Chanel shortly before her death.

Coco Chanel shortly before her death.


The House of Chanel

Coco Chanel formally registered as a courturiere and established her maison de couture (house of couture) at 31 rue Cambon in 1920. It is here in this same year that she launched her first parfume, Chanel No.5, she introduced the Chanel suit and also introduced the little black dress.

The Chanel suit was a collarless jacket with a well fitted dress or skirt. The designs were revolutionary for the time as she borrowed elements from men's wear for her designs. With her little black dress, she took the color black which was worn for mourning at that time and made it chic. Her designs stressed comfort over constraints. The fabrics she used were soft and felt great on a woman's body and skin.

Chanel did so well with her House of Chanel, that by 1927 she owned the original building in Paris and five other properties on the rue Cambon, the most fashionable section of Paris at the time.

In 1924, Chanel entered into a business arrangement and agreement with Pierre Weitheimer to sell her fragrances, specifically Chanel No. 5, in his department stores. She lent her name, but Weitheimer made all the profit. It took Chanel twenty years to re-negotiate the agreement and get her signature fragrance back.

At this time she also met Misia Sert, a member of the Parisian bohemian elite and wife of
Spanish painter Jose-Maria Sert. Misia and Chanel discovered they were soul mates and maintained a life-long friendship sharing interests, confidences and a drug habit. Chanel injected herself with morphine on a daily basis until her death in 1971, it has been said, to relieve her of vicious nightmares.

Chanel also met Vera Bate Lombardi, the illegitimate daughter of the Marquess of Cambridge, who helped Chanel with entry into the highest levels of the British aristocracy. Through Lombardi she met and became close friends to Winston Churchill, the Duke of Westminster, and Edward VIII, Prince of Wales.

The Duke of Westminster (Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor) and Chanel entered into a ten year affair in which he lavished her with jewels, art and a home in London's Mayfair district.

Even Edward VIII, Prince of Wales was drawn to Chanel and pursued her despite her affair with the Duke. She declined his advances and in 1927 Westminster gifted Chanel with land he had purchased in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on the French Riviera. It is here that Chanel built her villa, La Pausal (restful pause).

Westminster had asked for Chanel's hand in marriage many times and when asked why she declined each time, it is rumored that Chanel answered, "There have been several Duchesses of Westminster. There is only one Coco Chanel." Chanel always treasured her independence and uniqueness.

While in Monte Carlo during the 1931 season, Chanel met Hollywood movie mogul, Samuel Goldwyn. She and Goldwyn entered into a business agreement and Chanel would come twice a year to Hollywood to design costumes for the MGM stars. She was paid one million dollars which in 21st century valuation would be approximately $75 million.

Chanel designed for Gloria Swanson, Ina Claire, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Garbo and Dietrich liked her designs so much that they would become lifelong clients of the House of Chanel.

Chanel harbored a great dislike for Hollywood and America in general and she felt the culture was infantile. She also designed for the French film industry which she preferred and designed costumes for the films of Jean Renior and the plays of Jacques Cocteau.

During the 193's Chanel's designs began to falter as the short dresses of the 1920s were no longer in fashion. She was creatively eclipsed in Paris by designer Elsa Shiaparelli, who incorporated surrealism in her designs which became very popular with the public.

Also, during the 30s Chanel became the mistress to some of the most influential French men of her time. She had an affair with Pierre Reverdy, a poet which was one she enjoyed and she had one with Paul Iribe, an illustrator and sometime Hollywood director, that was not so enjoyable. Chanel maintained her independence through all her affairs with the men in her life.

At the beginning of WWII, Chanel closed the House of Chanel, including all her shops and boutiques that sold her designs. She said wartime was not a time for fashion. Her shops would remain closed for nearly twenty years.

During WWII, Chanel took advantage of the German law that took all business deals with anyone Jewish and declared them null and void. Here was Chanel's chance to reclaim her Chanel No.5 and other fragrances back to her ownership and control as Pierre Wertheimer was Jewish. Chanel petitioned as an 'Aryan' to get them back.

Unbeknownst to Chanel, Wertheimer had transferred the fragrance rights to a French businessman during the war. Finally, in 1947, Chanel and Wertheimer re-negotiated their agreement and came to terms over Chanel No. 5.

Werheimer paid Chanel $9 million for all the sales he made during WWII. From 1947 on Chanel received 2% of all parfume sales, approximately $25 million a year from Chanel No. 5 alone. Wertheimer also agreed to pay Chanel all her living expenses from the trivial to the large for the rest of her life. Coco Chanel was now the richest woman in the world.

WWII was not a pleasant time for Chanel. She committed herself to the German cause as early as 1941. She lived alone in her apartment above the boutique at 31 rue Cambon, but was seen constantly in the company of a German officer. She made several trips to Germany during the war and many believed her to be a spy working for the Germans. There was never any evidence to prove this as a fact, but her friendship with the German's lead to this kind of talk.

Actually, during the war, Chanel corresponded with Winston Churchill and some thought she was working as a spy for him and the English. There have never been any clear documents or sources to verify her associations during the war, but there has been much speculation.

After the war, a German, General Walter Schellenberg, was diagnosed with an incurable liver disease and Chanel paid for all his medical bills and his lifestyle until he died. This was more evidence for the public to believe that Chanel was associated with the Nazis. She fell out of favor with the French public over all this.

In 1945, Chanel moved to Switzerland and lived a quiet life mostly out of the public eye. She returned to Paris in 1954, at age seventy and re-established her house of couture, this time financed by Wertheimer. The Parisians did not accept Chanel, but the British and Americans favorably embraced her fashions.

Coco Chanel died in 1971 in her suite at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Paris, France where she had been living for some years. Services for her were held in Paris but Chanel was buried in the cemetery in Lausanne, Switzerland as she wished.

Her apartment above her House of Chanel, 31 rue Cambon, Paris, France remains today closed and untouched and as Coco Chanel last left it.

The Chanel suit of today.

The Chanel suit of today.

Another classic fashion designer

Chanel SA

Today, Chanel SA, founded in 1909, is a French privately held company owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, grandsons of Pierre Werheimer, Coco Chanel's early business partner. In 1983, Karl Lagerfeld came on board as the chief clothing designer for the House of Chanel and has remained as chief designer today. He also designs for himself and the Italian house of Fendi.

The House of Chanel, today, is a high fashion brand that specializes in haute couture, ready to wear clothing, luxury goods and fashion accessories. Lagerfeld has incorporated the Chanel fabrics and detailing such as tweed, gold accents and chains into his designs. He has kept what was signature, innovative and revolutionary of Coco Chanel's clothing designs:

  • the use of jersey material
  • the camillia flower - her signature flower and associated with the House of Chanel
  • the little black dress - her contribution to the fashion lexicon; 1926 Vogue Magazine highlighted this Chanel dress
  • the Chanel bag - Chanel invented the shoulder strap to liberate women from the hand held bag
  • the suntan - for the first time it became acceptable with Coco Chanel and the symbol of privilege and leisure; Chanel made sunbathing fashionable

Along with keeping the signature Coco Chanel designs, Lagerfeld has broken with the ladylike look of Chanel and has began to experiment with different fabrics and styles.

Some of the famous women of today who buy, wear and model Chanel designs are Catherine Deneuve, Vanessa Paradis, Nicole Kidman, Audrey Tautou, Keira Knightley, and of course the late, iconic Marilyn Munroe.

With Coco Chanel and the House of Chanel people know what to expect: class, elegance and the eternal feminine.

The House of Chanel, Paris, France.

The House of Chanel, Paris, France.

The look of Chanel today.

The look of Chanel today.

The House of Chanel Spring 2015


Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on August 25, 2016:

I am so glad you enjoyed this and even for a second time. Coco Chanel is such an interesting and unique individual. She was a woman way ahead of her time and quite an inspiration. Her legacy still lives on.

AJ from Australia on August 16, 2016:

I just had to pop by again to admire your beautiful article. Just love it!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on April 05, 2015:

Rangoon House: So glad you enjoyed reading this and are a Chanel fan. I love her designs and the ones Karl Lager does today.

AJ from Australia on April 03, 2015:

Coco Chanel is my favourite too - then and now.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on March 29, 2015:

angel: Thanks for reading this. I am glad to meet another Chanel fan. She is my favorite fashion designer and her designs are timeless. So glad you enjoyed reading this.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on February 24, 2014:

VVanNess: I love Coco Chanel's style so much and have incorporated a few items of her's into my wardrobe. I love her perfumes also. Thanks so much and I am so glad you enjoyed reading this.

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on February 23, 2014:

I have heard of her many times, but never knew exactly who she was or what her contribution was to the world. This was very informative. Thank you!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on November 18, 2013:

Kenja: Thank you for your visit and I am glad you enjoyed reading this article. I'm not sure what you mean by a form or do you mean from? I will check out your site. I assume it is a content writing site. Thank you for the invite.

Ken Taub from Long Island, NY on November 17, 2013:

How about a substance, style or personal adventure piece form Suzette? Free edit, national audience and a link back to your own site! We'd love to have you on Roel Resources. Take a look: best, Ken

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on November 09, 2013:

Her life was incredible! And I'm sure all the money she made helped a lot. When she made that deal with Wertheimer she was set for life. And I'm sure there were times she did relish the freedom. Anyway. she made her mark on life and her legacy lives on today.

Globetrekkermel from CALIFORNIA on November 08, 2013:

Suzette, you are exact ly right. We sure can't have it all. I guess what it boils down to ,is that she lived the life she envisioned and if it meant breaking down social barriers or choosing to be daring regardless of the dictates of social convention, i think that's worth the risk. I don't think I am brave enough to do what she did as far as being bold without regard to reputations . This is why I awe struck for her boldness because , I know I can't although I would have tried.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on November 06, 2013:

Globetrekkermel: I am not against the life she lead. All power to her; but one has to realize there is a price to pay, that is all. I don't say she should not have done what she did. Read her biography sometime. She did have regrets according to the biography: that she never married and had children of her own. I am not downing her life at all - I think what she attained in life is wonderful, but there was a price to pay for all that acclaim, money, and lovers she had. No one goes through this life without making trade-offs in life. I have not had children, not for lack of trying, it just never happened for me. My sister had three lovely children. She looks at me and thinks I've had it great - no kids, not tied down, able to pick up and go and globtrot; and I look at here and think how wonderful to have three children to spend holidays with, to love and be loved by them and have the opportunity to have grandchildren. That looks great to me. There are trade-offs in life, that is all I'm saying. Nobody "has it all!"

Globetrekkermel from CALIFORNIA on November 06, 2013:

She sure was. Never mind the price to pay,nothing ventured nothing gained. Lol.better to have tried and earned the scorn of the world , the important thing is she tried and came out a winner. And what if she didn't try then even against all odds? Regrets , big time, wouldn't be?

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on November 06, 2013:

Globetrekkermel: I love your comments. Yes Coco Chanel was ahead of her time and lived life on her terms. I, too, wish I could be more bold and just ignore conventions, but there is a price to pay for that. She was very alone and lonely at the end of her life. But, she sure shook up the fashion world didn't she? I love the simplicity of her styles and her elegant good taste. She was quite a woman!

Globetrekkermel from CALIFORNIA on November 06, 2013:

Love reading the bio of Coco Chanel. Thank you for writing it. She is the quintessential unconventional woman that almost every woman with a stubborn and daring edge can identify with. I would say I can identify with her for her boldness to take on life in her own terms,independent of what others think of her. Her brave attitude in her relationships especially with men is quite ahead of her time.That quality in her boldness with her relationships with men is something I still do not have the braveness to venture out ,though. Still, I have to give her credit for that .Not a lot of women will be brave enough to take on risky and unconventional choices in life. Bravo!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on October 12, 2013:

Jackie: Thank you for reading this and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, she packed in a full life. And quite an unconventional one at that. I appreciated your comments.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 11, 2013:

Wow; so interesting. I can imagine bringing the softer and more comfortable material becoming so popular and what a life, she lived 10 of most people's didn't she? Well she certainly is remembered but glad you let us get to know her better. Thanks!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on October 05, 2013:

mckbirdbks: I'm really not one to wear designer clothes, but Chanel was an artist in the fashion world and that is why I like her designs so much. Simple but elegant. She was no fuss, no muss. She also lived such an unconventional life - one that I would never have the nerve to live. LOL She certainly hit the pinnacle of her chosen profession.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on October 04, 2013:

Some people are destined to live interesting lives. Paris in the 30's with money, now that had to be interesting. She built a world recognized brand, not much more can be said about a successful person.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 30, 2013:

Neil: Sorry, I didn't notice the ex. Oh well! You must love women to have female dogs also! Yes, I agree with you most heartily - women need to dress for their shape and be comfortable in their own 'skin' - fortunately, I am comfortable in my own skin and I certainly don't need to dress in designer clothes (well, except for the perfume LOL) But, I have always liked Chanel's approach to clothes then and today. Thank you so much for your comments and I appreciate your visit.

Neil Sperling from Port Dover Ontario Canada on September 29, 2013:

Even the family dogs have all been female. LOL

BTW -- it is EX wife. LOL

fashion is interesting.... every woman dressed for her shape "and" who is "comfortable in their own skin" is beautiful. Fashion industry is cool in that way.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 28, 2013:

Aupadhyay: Yes, my friend, thank you so much for visiting and reading this. I am glad you enjoyed it - being a woman I love fashion and style. I had to highlight Coco Chanel - one of my favorites. Thanks you for your lovely comments. Most appreciated.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 28, 2013:

Hi Faith: Can you imagine living her life? LOL I'm not that bold. But, her clothing is so classical and timeless and it never goes out of style. As I have said, not that I can afford it! LOL. Thanks so much for reading this and I;m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the visit - I always enjoy hearing from you!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 28, 2013:

Crystal: Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I do enjoy Chanel fashions and accessories. Not that I can afford them LOL. But, I do wear Chanel No. 5 and have made it my signature perfume. I love fashions and styles that are classic and timeless because they never go out of style. You can wear a Chanel suit from the 60's today and not look out of style. Thanks so much for reading and I'm glad you liked this.


My friend suzettenaples, very informative hub and beautifully portrayed the aspects of fashion history. voted it and liked it very much.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 27, 2013:

Hi suzzette,

I found Coco's life to be so interesting and her style is certainly timeless. I had watched a movie on her life, so I knew of much of her life, but not all. What a life!

Excellent and comprehensive hub here.

Up and more and sharing


Faith Reaper

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on September 27, 2013:

Chanel is timeless, elegant, sophisticated. The brand never goes out of style. You've given a very thorough bio of the visionary behind the brand. Well done. Voted up and interesting.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 27, 2013:

heidithorne: Thank you so much for your interest and I'm glad you enjoyed reading this.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 27, 2013:

tirelesstraveler: You are so right - what a character she was. I'm with you - I would love to see that apartment - can you imagine what it must be full of? I think they should open it as a museum to her, myself. They could charge admission and make more money for the House of Chanel LOL. I'd pay to see it. Oh dear, one more reason to see Paris again.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 27, 2013:

Neil: I am amazed at the men reading this article! LOL Yes, you sound like you are surrounded by women - what a life! I would say you know a lot about women's fashion - that is so cool that your wife is a designer and dress maker. Well, just keep all the women in your life in Chanel No. 5 perfume and you should have no problems. LOL

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 27, 2013:

Thank you Christy and I'm glad you enjoyed this. Coco Chanel was quite the character!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 27, 2013:

Thanks Nell: Chanel has such an interesting life in how she got started and yes from learning to sew in a convent. She parlayed that into one of the biggest and wealthiest couture houses in Paris. For a time she was the richest woman in the world. Kinda like Oprah! LOL And here we sit writing away! At least we have a talent!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 27, 2013:

Interesting backstory for certainly an iconic character! Beautiful and interesting hub!

Judy Specht from California on September 27, 2013:

Coco Chanel was certainly a character. This is an interesting and well written review of her life. Wonder if they will ever open the apartment above the boutique?

Neil Sperling from Port Dover Ontario Canada on September 27, 2013:

Good read.......... growing up with two sisters and no brothers... then married a woman who was an amazing dress maker designer herself giving me two step daughters and two more daughters.... needless to say I am into fashion more than I admit. LOL

Great read.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on September 27, 2013:

What a wonderful look at the life of a style icon. The photos and video elements add to the words very well. Sharing!

Nell Rose from England on September 27, 2013:

Wow! this was fascinating reading, and amazing to think that she learned to sew in a Catholic convent because of poor circumstances. And also how amazing to think she became so successful not only from this start but by being a woman back then, great hub suzette, voted up and shared! nell

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 27, 2013:

Thank you for your comments, teaches. She led an interesting and innovative life and I have always loved her designs - simple but elegant.

Dianna Mendez on September 26, 2013:

Thanks for the look into this famous designer's life history. Her clothing style has long been a favorite of many women.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 26, 2013:

Eric: Yes, I agree with you! LOL. She was a feisty woman and always knew what she wanted. I'm glad you found this interesting and I certainly didn't expect men to read this! LOL. Thank you!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 26, 2013:

Mike : Thanks for reading this and for your comments. I didn't expect many men to read this. She certainly deserves her place in history as she knew how to sell and market her goods!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 26, 2013:

Very well written and interesting. Wow what a life. Probably men should appreciate her more than women.

Mike Robbers from London on September 26, 2013:

Although I'm not that much into fashion i enjoyed reading your hub Suzette. Excellent work in presenting such a icon of the fashion industry.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 26, 2013:

MooreBeauty: Read her biography sometime and you will see and understand. So glad you enjoyed reading this and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I do love her clothing designs and I do love it today, under Lagerfeld.

MooreBeauty from North Carolina, USA on September 26, 2013:

This is a wonderful blog, really. Coco is also my favorite designer, by far, but I'll admit I didn't know very much about her personal life. From this blog, I found out things I never would have expected from Chanel but it does all tie in together and make sense. Great job.

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