Coco Chanel was born on 19 August 1883 in Saumur, France. She is a French fashion designer and businesswoman famously known for being the founder of the famous brand Chanel. Coco popularized the sporty, casual chic as the feminine standard of style. She is the only fashion designer whose name is on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel was a French businesswoman and fashion designer. She is known for being the founder of the famous brand Chanel.
She was born on 19 August 1883 in Saumur, France. Her mother, Eugénie Jeanne Deville, known as Jeanne, worked as a laundrywoman in the charity hospital run by the Sisters of Providence. Her father was a street vendor who sold clothes and undergarments.
When Coco was 11, her mother passed away at 32. She and her three sisters and two brothers did not attend school. The father sent the boys to work on the farm as farm laborers, and the girls were sent to the convent of Aubazine, which ran an orphanage.
Origin of Chanel
In 1909, Coco Chanel opened a millinery shop at 160 Boulevard Malesherbes, the ground floor of the Parisian flat of the socialite and textile businessman Étienne Balsan, of whom she was the mistress. This is where the House of Chanel originated.
The Balsan flat was also a salon for the French sporting elite. Coco had the chance to show these rich women a sense of fashion her designs. She started selling them the hats she designed and made and earned an independent living.
By 1918, Coco Chanel had a big dress shop near Hotel Ritz in Paris. The designs available in the shops included Flannel blazers, Straight-line skirts of linen, Sailor blouses, and Long sweaters made of jersey fabric, Skirt-and-jacket suits.
In her last years, Coco Chanel became incredibly lonely. Jaques Chazot and and her confidante Lilou Marquand sometimes gave her company. The Brazilian Aimée de Heeren was also a faithful friend to Coco Chanel, and she lived in Paris for four months every year at a hotel. The two friends were often seen strolling through central Paris.
In 1971, Coco Chanel was 87 years old, and her health was deteriorating. On 9 January 1971, she carried out her daily morning routine. She started preparing for the spring catalog and went for a long drive in the afternoon.
Soon, she started feeling ill and went to sleep early. Coco Chanel passed away on 10 January 1970 in Hotel Ritz, her home for more than 30 years. The designer’s funeral was at Église de la Madeleine, and her fashion models occupied the first seats during the ceremony. Her coffin was decorated with white flowers—camellias, gardenias, orchids, azaleas, and a few red roses. Her nephew, André Palasse inherited most of her estate.
Chanel after Coco
In 2007, Maureen Chiquet became the CEO. She operated in her position as the CEO until her termination in 2016.
In 2018, Chanel announced the relocation of its global headquarters to London. The company announced in December of the same year that it would ban fur and exotic skins from its collections.
In February 2019, Lagerfeld died at age 85. Virginie Viard became the new Creative Director and had worked with Lagerfeld at the fashion house for over 30 years. In December 2021, Leena Nair became the Global Chief Executive Officer.
What were the last words of Coco Chanel?
After coming back from her drive on 9 January 1971, Coco Chanel announced her final words to her maid which were: “You see, this is how you die.”
Did Coco Chanel had any children?
No, Coco Chanel never married and had no children. Although she was very close to her elder sister’s son, André Palasse, she looked after him after his mother passed away due to suicide.