Gabrielle Chanel called Coco Chanel was born in Saumur on August 19, 1883. She loses her mother very early. Abandoned by her father at the age of 12, she was raised in an orphanage by the nuns of the convent of Aubazine inCorrèze. Her encounter with sewing was as soon as she entered the orphanage, taught by the nuns.
In 1909, she set up her first milliner's workshop of hats for ladies, in a bachelor pad on Boulevard Malesherbes in Paris. But it was her meeting with the Englishman Alfred Capel, known as "Boy", a former Polo champion who had converted into the industry, that allowed Gabrielle Chanel to rise.
He offered Gabrielle’s her first shop, 21 rue Cambon. The Chanel story begins then.
Chanel offers women comfort and freedom of movement. She wants to free woman, free their movements, their opinions and their choices. This is what we find in her creations, with a fluid fashion, which lets breathe, move, work, which foreshadows the emancipation of women. She shortens skirts, removes the waist, launches the fashion of short hair and brings elements of the men's wardrobe into the women's wardrobe. Coco Chanel, while freeing women from their corsets and petticoats, has invented almost everything: trousers, tailor, short skirt, costume jewelry...
Although her creations were inspired by men's clothing, she was not afraid to say that "the more feminine a woman is, the stronger she is".
From 1920 to 1939, Chanel ruled Paris. Six months after Boy's death, she moved to the Ritz - years later, heartbroken. Coco doesn't cry anymore. She gets lost in work. The sports suit, the fake jewelry she had drawn by François Hugo, the shoulder bag because she was tired of misplacing hers, and the cork-soled sandals she made to walk on the burning sand of the Lido beach in Venice. In 1935, Rue Cambon saw all the celebrities and crowned heads of the time parade. Coco CHANEL is the head of more than 4000 workers.
In 1939, shortly after the declaration of war, she dismissed all her staff and closed Rue Cambon. Back to the Ritz, where the queen locks herself in.
In 1953, at the age of 70, Chanel prepared for her return and returned to Rue Cambon.
After a first attempt - a failed collection criticized by the press but defended by the newspaper Elle and recognized by American buyers, her style regains the favor of women. "Real success is fatal," said the woman who returned to live in her Ritz apartment. And who will work until the last night of his life, January 10, 1971. From 1972 to 1983 The Wertheimer family ensured continuity with the faithful of the Coco Chanel workshop, attached to the tradition of the great Maison.
From 1983 to 1996 The Wertheimers used big names including Karl LAGERFELD, (formerly of BALMAIN and PATOU).