Born in Saumur, France, on August 19, 1883, Gabrielle Chanel, called “Coco”, had a very humble and sad childhood, mostly spent in an orphanage, only to become one of the most acclaimed fashion creators of the last century. With the style launched by her, she represented the new female model of the 1900s, that is, a type of woman dedicated to work, to a dynamic, sporty, unlabelled and self-deprecating life, providing this model with the most suitable way of dressing. .
He began his career designing hats, first in Paris in 1908 and then in Deauville. In these cities, in ’14, it opens its first shops, followed in ’16 by a high fashion salon in Biarritz. The resounding success caught her in the twenties, when she arrives to open the doors of one of its offices in rue de Cambon n.31 in Paris and when, shortly thereafter, it will be considered a real symbol of that generation. However, according to critics and fashion connoisseurs, the pinnacle of his creativity is to be attributed to the most shining thirties, when, despite having invented his famous and revolutionary “suits” (consisting of a male jacket and a straight skirt or with pants, which had belonged to the man until then), imposed a sober and elegant style with an unmistakable stamp.
Basically, it can be said that Chanel replaced the impractical clothing of the belle époque with a wide and comfortable fashion. In 1916, for example, Chanel extended the use of jersey (a very flexible knitted material), from its exclusive use for undercoats to a wide variety of types of clothing, including simple clothes in gray and dark blue. This innovation was so successful that “Coco” began to develop his famous patterns for jersey fabrics.
The insertion of the hand-knitted and then industrially made shirt, in fact, remains one of the most sensational innovations proposed by Chanel. In addition, the pearl jewelery, the long golden chains, the assembly of real stones with fake gems, the crystals that have the appearance of diamonds are indispensable accessories of Chanel clothing and recognizable signs of its brand.
Experts such as those of the Creativitalia.it website say: “Too often there has been talk of his famous suit almost as if it were his invention; in reality Chanel produced a traditional type of clothing that often took its cue from male clothing and that did not become out of fashion with the change of each new season. The most common colors of Chanel were dark blue, gray, and beige. The importance given to details and the extensive use of costume jewelery, with revolutionary combinations of real and false stones, agglomerates of crystals, and pearls are many indicative of Chanel’s style. At the age of 71, Chanel re-introduced the “Chanel suit” which consisted of several pieces: a cardigan-style jacket, including its typical chain stitched on the inside, a simple and comfortable skirt, with a blouse whose fabric was coordinated with the fabric inside the suit. This time, the skirts were cut shorter and the suits were made from a fabric or well-worked cardigan. Chanel is singular in its revolutionization of the fashion industry and in helping the path of women towards emancipation “.
However, the outbreak of the Second World War imposed a sudden setback. Coco is forced to close the rue de Cambon headquarters, leaving only the perfume shop open. In 1954, when he returned to the world of fashion, Chanel was 71 years old.
The designer had worked from 1921 to 1970 in close collaboration with the so-called perfume composers, Ernest Beaux and Henri Robert. The famous Chanel N ° 5 was created in 1921 by Ernest Beaux, and according to Coco’s indications it had to embody a concept of timeless, unique and fascinating femininity. The N ° 5 was not only innovative for the structure of the fragrance, but for the novelty of the name and the essentiality of the bottle. Chanel found the high-sounding names of the perfumes of the time ridiculous, so much so that she decided to call her fragrance with a number, because it corresponded to the fifth olfactory proposal that Ernest had made her.
Unforgettable then, the famous affirmation of Marylin who, urged to confess how and with what clothing she went to bed, confessed: “With only two drops of Chanel N.5”, thus further projecting the name of the stylist and her perfume in the history of costume.
The absolutely avant-garde bottle has become famous for its essential structure and the cap cut like an emerald. This “profile” was so successful that, since 1959, the bottle has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Many others followed the mythical N.5, such as # 22 in 1922, “Gardénia” in ’25, “Bois des iles” in ’26, “Cuir de Russie” in ’27, “Sycomore”, ” Une idée “in ’30,” Jasmin “in ’32 and” Pour Monsieur “in ’55. The other large number of Chanel is the N ° 19, created in 1970 by Henri Robert, to remember the date of birth of Coco (on August 19, in fact).
In summary, Chanel’s stylistic imprint is based on the apparent repetitiveness of the basic models. The variants are made up of the design of the fabrics and the details, confirming the belief made by the designer in her famous line that “fashion passes, style remains”.
After the disappearance of this great fashion designer of the 1900s, which took place on 10 January 1971, the Maison was sent forward by his assistants, Gaston Berthelot and Ramon Esparza, and by their collaborators, Yvonne Dudel and Jean Cazaubon, in an attempt to honor his name and to maintain its prestige.