Posted on by Cameron Tewson

Undoubtedly, Coco Chanel reigns supreme in the world of fashion. Since the early 1900s, her iconic creations, ranging from costume jewellery and little black dresses to women’s suits, have graced the wardrobes of both women and men alike. Notably, her fragrance, Chanel No.5, stands as one of the best-selling perfumes in history. Yet, amidst the allure of her designs, the enigmatic persona of Chanel herself remains shrouded in mystery. Beyond the elegance of her fashion empire lies a life marked by the unexpected and the tumultuous. Coco Chanel’s journey, from a challenging childhood to a complex love life, unveils ten lesser-known facts about this celebrated fashion luminary.

With the exhibition of Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto currently showcasing at the V&A, we delve into the alluring history with ten surprising facts. 

1). As elegant and eccentric “Coco Chanel” sounds, the fashion designer’s real name is actually Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel.

2). Before she was Coco, Chanel had a life that was far from glamorous. After her mother died from tuberculosis, her father put young Coco in an orphanage. Nuns taught her how to sew, a skill which would lead her to future work

3). Gabrielle donned the name “Coco” when she performed in clubs as a singer. She has said herself that “Coco” was a shortened version of “cocotte” — the French word for “kept woman.”

4). Chanel emerged in the fashion world as a hat maker, not a couture designer. Her first millinery business was opened on Paris’ Rue Cambon in 1910.

5). Chanel No.5, launched in the 1920s, was the first perfume to feature a designer’s name. Advertised by Marilyn Monroe, the fragrance is one of the best selling perfumes of all time.

6). Chanel’s favorite number was five — who would have guessed? Chanel No. 5 was released on the fifth of May, the fifth month of the year for good luck.

7). In 1925, Chanel introduced one of her most popular designs — the Chanel suit. A combination of the collarless jacket and snug skirt, the suit was inspired by men’s wear, highlighting comfort and elegance.

8). Chanel was also the creator of the LBD, aka the Little Black Dress. Though the colour black was initially related to mourning and death, Chanel revolutionised the hue and showed the world how chic and flattering black was for evening wear.

9). In the early 1920s, Coco Chanel ignited a jewelry trend. Combining large fake pearls with glittering gemstones, she introduced the concept of donning piles of costume jewellery against minimalist clothing backdrop.

10). Hollywood moviemaker Samuel Goldwyn offered Chanel a job designing costumes for starlets twice a year. Though she created signature looks for Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, Chanel wasn’t delighted with Hollywood, calling the place vulgar and “the capital of bad taste.”


Book your visit to the V&A to preview the allure of Chanel.  



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About Cameron Tewson

Cameron, the visionary force behind frontrowedit.co.uk, established his highly acclaimed blog a decade ago, catapulting him to the forefront of the social media landscape. With a keen focus on global relationships and exclusive interviews with editors, designers, celebrities, and tastemakers, Cameron seamlessly navigated his way to becoming a sought-after freelance consultant. His expertise even caught the attention of the prestigious Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States. In 2019, Cameron earned recognition as one of the influential figures under 30 in the Watches & Jewellery industry. Back in 2014, CNN International ranked his blog as the 7th top-read in its category, solidifying his position as a captivating and authoritative voice in the digital space. Explore the world of fashion, lifestyle, and industry insights with Cameron on frontrowedit.co.uk. View all posts by Cameron Tewson →

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