My youngest daughter Brooke is a Francophile.. and all things in her room have something to do with Paris. Thus. when it came time to adorn her walls.. I bid on an old advertisement for Coco Chanel Parfum. She loved it! She new that Coco had something to do with French fashion.. and the mere fact that she was French was all she really needed to know! However, I felt it necessary to give Brooke a brief account of Chanel's life, along with pictures of the amazing apartment in which she resided in Paris. I must admit her interior style impressed me as much as her fashion sense, so this was definitely a lesson for myself as well!
Coco(Gabrielle) Chanel claims she was born in 1893 in Auvergne; she was actually born in 1883 in Saumur. According to Coco, she was from a poor family, and that her mother died when Gabrielle was only six, leaving her father with five children whom he quickly abandoned to the care of relatives.
She adopted the name Coco during a brief career as a cafe and concert singer 1905-1908. First a mistress of a wealthy military officer then of an English industrialist, Coco Chanel drew on the resources of these patrons in setting up a millinery shop in Paris in 1910, expanding to Deauville and Biarritz. The two men also helped her find customers among women of society, and her simple hats became popular. Soon "Coco" was expanding to couture, working in jersey, a first in the French fashion world. Her relaxed fashions, short skirts, and casual look were set apart from the corset fashions popular in the previous decades. Chanel herself dressed in masculine style clothes, and adapted these more comfortable fashions which other women also found liberating.
|Framed Ad that started my quest!|
|The Legend herself!|
|Paris apartment.. note the mirror.. and consoles!|
|"Luxury must be comfortable otherwise it is not luxury".. Coco Chanel|
|Surrounded by Coromandel screens.. a favorite of hers to use!|
|Simply stunning staircase...|
|Boxes from the 1920's Duke of Westminster.. gifts..(Chanel News).|
|Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, by those gorgeous screens.|
|Close up of the gilding in the coromandel screen, beautiful!|
|Coco.. although owned an apartment, slept at the Ritz in Paris.|
In 1922 Coco Chanel introduced a perfume, Chanel No. 5, which became and remained popular, and remains a profitable product of Chanel's company. Coco Chanel introduced her signature cardigan jacket in 1925 and signature "little black dress" in 1926. Most of her fashions had a staying power, and didn't change much from year to year -- or even generation to generation. During the world warII, Coco fell on hard times.. but in 1954 her comeback restored her to the first ranks of haute couture. Her natural, casual clothing including the Chanel suit once again caught the eye -- and purses -- of women. She introduced pea jackets and bell bottom pants for women. She was still working in 1971 when she died. Karl Lagerfeld has been chief designer of Chanel's fashion house since 1983.