Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Born in Saumur, Southern France on
August 19, 1883
• The Chanel family did not have money
• No one knew how to spell Chanel so the mayor
improvised and recorded it with an "s," making it Chasnel.
• When Gabrielle was twelve, her mother died of
tuberculosis, and her father disappeared.
• School vacations were spent with relatives . Female relatives taught Coco to sew
with more flourish than the nuns at the monastery were able to demonstrate.
• When Coco turned eighteen, she left the orphanage
• Gabrielle adopted the name “Coco” during a brief
stint as a singer in cafes and concert halls
• While working at a tailoring shop she met and soon
began an affair with Etienne Balsan
• Coco left Etienne and took over his apartment in Paris.
• In 1908 she began selling hats from the basement shop in
• She was forced to close her shop
Career/Life Path continued…
•In 1909 Chanel met up with an estranged and former best friend of Etienne
Balsan, Arthur "Boy" Capel.
•1910 she opened second shop funded by boy Capel in Cambon, Paris
•1913 she opened a clothing shop in Deauville , France funded by Capel
•In 1916 Coco Chanel became the first designer to create loose women’s
clothing using jersey
•In 1919 Chanel relocated one of her shops to 31 rue Cambon in Paris.
•Coco also lost her true love, Arthur “Boy” Capel in a tragic car accident
Career/ Life Path Continued…
• In 1922, she launched the fragrance Chanel No. 5
• In 1925 Chanel launched her signature cardigan jacket
• In 1926 she created the “little black dress”
• In 1939 Chanel closed all her shops except the one on Rue Cambon No. 31
• In 1954 she returned to the fashion world after spending 15 years in
• In 1957 Chanel was presented with the Neiman-Marcus Award.
Coco Chanel died of a heart attack in her private suite at the Hotel Ritz
Paris on 10 January 1971, at the age of 87. She was buried in
Lausanne, Switzerland and her tombstone is carved with lion heads
representing her birth sign, Leo.
Fashions that Chanel Introduced to the world
• Black as a color and the Chanel lipstick red.
• Costume jewelry
• Sailor tops
• The elimination of the corset from women's fashion
• The unisex style of dressing
• The use of knit jersey
• The women's bathing suit
• The bobbed hair style
• The skirt suit (with a collarless, cardigan-like jacket and somewhat boxy suit
skirt with buttons.)
• With the help of Ernest Beaux, a chemist, she combined over 128 scents to
design Chanel No. 5. Coco was the first to incorporate the use of floral
The “Roots” of Chanel Business
•Coco Chanel sought financial help from Pierre Wertheimer to market a fragrance she
had developed in 1921
•Pierre Wertheimer funded the venture and retained a 70 percent ownership share in
the Perfume company. Coco Chanel only got a 10 percent cut.
•Pierre Wertheimer wanted to protect his legal rights, but wished to avoid a court
battle, and so, in 1947, he settled the dispute with Coco Chanel, giving her $400,000
and agreeing to pay her a 2 percent royalty on all Chanel products.
•At 70 years of age in 1954, Coco Chanel returned to Paris with the intent of restarting
her fashion studio. She went to Pierre Wertheimer for advice and money, and he
agreed to finance her plan in exchange for all rights to the Chanel name.
•To this day Chanel has expanded its line to include women's fashions, jewelry and
accessories, handbags, leather goods, and other products. While its products are sold
through third parties, Chanel also operates its own network of more than 80 company-
owned retail stores worldwide. There are also more than 120 Chanel shop-in-shop
boutiques in leading department stores around the world.
"Success is often achieved by those who don't know that
failure is inevitable."
"A girl should be two things: classy & fabulous."