Coco Chanel

“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.”

Gabrielle Bonheur (Coco) Chanel, French Fashion designer, 1883-1971

Famous for pioneering a chic, sporty, androgynous look for women modelled on the clothes of French fishermen and British equestrians, her fashion house, Chanel, continues to be one of the top in the world. She famously mixed pearls with tweed, and Breton stripes with chiffon and silk, creating an unmistakable aesthetic that celebrated women’s liberation from the era of the corset.

Chanel never went to school, but learned to sew at the orphanage where she grew up, after her mother, a laundress, passed away. The bottle of Chanel #5 is said to be shaped like the whiskey decanter of her aristocratic paramour, Boy Capel. Chanel’s other famous contribution to Chanel lore, is the gift of her first bouquet of camellias, which became the couture house’s signature flower in 1913. Chanel’s Paris apartment featured chinoiserie, including lacquered screens emblazoned with camellias, and she often wore a silk version in her hair. The short-blooming camellia, or Chinese rose, is a symbol of everlasting love and devotion.


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