Born on the 19th of August, 1883, in Saumur, France, a beautiful woman by the name of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born. Her life story a tale of rags to riches, this remarkable talent would soon find her stride and take the world by storm as she made her mark with a line of irresistible hats and garments and accessories under the iconic name Coco Chanel. Known as one of the most legendary designers of all time, her timeless pieces where the epitome of sophistication. Her fashion incorporated men’s fashion, as well as comfort, style, and femininity. The world will always be grateful to Chanel and her gift of Chanel suits, as well as the classic little black dress, and her signature scent Chanel No. 5. For more facts on the woman of the hour, here are 10 fierce fashion savvy facts about Coco Chanel:
Fact 1: The story of Coco Chanel’s life is one out of a fairy tale it may seem. Born in Saumur, France, Coco was sent to an orphanage by her father. When her mother died, Coco’s father who worked as a peddler decided to give up his child to be raised by nuns. There she was taught how to sew. The world didn’t know just what kind of gift was in store for everyone to see. From rags to riches, indeed!
Fact 2: Although Chanel had never married, always being the designer but never the bride, she has had her fair share of romance. Boy did she know how to pick ‘em! Her first boy toy by the name of Etienne Balsan was a French socialite and polo player who let her set up her first hat boutique shop on the first floor of his bachelor pad. If this wasn’t a good deal already, it was through meeting Etienne that Coco met and fell in love with his-brace yourself- wealthier friend Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel. Capel financed all of her first shops. She has also been linked to a man 13 years her junior! He was a German officer by the name of Hans Gunther von Dinklage. She has also been linked to Igor Stravinsky, as well as Pablo Picasso.
Fact 3: There are four signature Chanel staples every fashion savvy diehard must own, and these are the following: The Chanel jacket, the legendary Chanel No. 5 perfume (the one Marilyn Monroe swears by), the timeless little black dress, and of course, the Chanel handbag! You are set to rule the world with these in your artillery.
Fact 4: She’s had romantic affairs, and some controversial ones, too. Back in 2011, Hal Vaughan wrote a book entitled “Sleeping With The Enemy”, a direct attack on the fashion icon as the book disclosed that Chanel had ties with the Nazi Party, and was involved with Military Intelligence officer Hans Gunther von Dinklage. The icon and her fashion house were quick to douse water on the hot issue, claiming it all to be untrue, except for her relationship with Dinklage. The fashion house was quoted to have said “It was clearly not the best period to have a relationship with a German” and continued on to say “the designer is not anti-semitic, and if she were part of the Nazi party then she wouldn’t have such close-knit ties with Jewish financiers and the Rothschild family”.
Fact 5: Her legacy lives on in the Broadway hit entitled Coco. Her life story fascinated people so much that they created a musical about it. Together with Katharine Hepburn portraying Chanel and Andre Previn for the music, the show received 7 Tony Award nominations, as well as a Best Costume Award. Rene Rene Auberjenois received the Best Feature Actor Award.
Fact 6: You can bet that patrons of the fashion designer, as well as her loved ones, followed in the icon’s fashionable footsteps and supported her exquisite clothing line. This was evident when Coco Chanel passed away, and everyone in the funeral service, as well as fans huddled outside the church, wore Chanel suits.
Fact 7: Coco Chanel hated Hollywood! In fact, she absolutely abhorred it. Back when she caught the eye of famous moviemakers, most especially Samuel Goldwyn’s, she was offered a delightful business proposition. For a handsome sum of money all she had to do was fly to Hollywood twice a year to produce costumes for the films. However, what Coco found in Hollywood was everything other than glitz and glam. She’s quoted to have said that Hollywood was the ‘Capital of bad taste.’
Fact 8: Coco was loco about pockets! Evident in her clothes, as well as her purses, you never had a shortage of pockets when you were adorned in Chanel.
Fact 9: Oh and aside from her love of pockets, she was also quite fond of the number five. Her famous perfume called Chanel No. 5 is the best selling fragrance to date, and studies show that a bottle is bought every 30 seconds!
Fact 10: She had lived in a swanky hotel, the Ritz Carlton, for over 30 years!