• Sally Cooper

COCO CHANEL...Early Success

Updated: Feb 6

Gabrielle "COCO" Chanel (1883-1971), the designer who made a bold statement within women's fashion. Gabrielle was born in the Loire Valley of France in the village of Saumur. Chanel endured a childhood of poverty within a strict convent education. These early difficulties motivated a desire to pursue a different lifestyle. On the stage, she acquired the nickname "COCO." Later she became a creator of hats called a milliner.

Sought after by many, Coco won the admiration of a male friend who offered his financial assistance and connections to advance her career—opening her first shop in 1913 in Paris as well as in Deauville, a resort town. There she sold her clothing as well as her beloved hats. Both shops attracted clients who would promote her line of sportswear. Chanel chose the new and unusual fabric called jersey for her garments primarily for its affordability jersey, a material that draped well-accentuated Chanel's simple, practical fashion design.

World War One drove her customers from Paris to her shops in Biarritz and Deauville, where sales flourished. The shortened skirts, boxy lines, and uncluttered Chanel styles released women from the corset allowing freedom of movement. This Chanel look made its way through the decades, influencing fashion during 1975-76 and 1984.

By 1919 at the age of 32, Chanel achieved success as a women's fashion designer with clients worldwide. She relocated her house of fashion in Paris to 31 rue Cambon which continues to remain the center of operations for the House of Chanel to this very day.

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To be continued...COCO CHANEL

Thursday, February 5, 2021

Written by: Sally Cooper

Reference: The Metropolitan Museum

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