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Emblematic figure of the French haute couture, Coco Chanel knew how to mark her time thanks to her audacity and creativity. Indeed, the designer wanted to break the codes, bring a modern touch to women’s fashion. She is even considered a pioneer in the fight for women’s emancipation. A look back at the story of a woman whose name is now associated with French chic.

Gabrielle before Coco
Gabrielle was born on August 19, 1883 in Saumur. She is issued from a sibling composed of three sisters of which she is in the middle. When her mother died of tuberculosis, Gabrielle and her sisters were placed in an orphanage.
She spent her adolescence in an orphanage. There she discovered sewing. When she was 18 years old, Gabrielle worked as a singer in cafés-concerts during her stay in Vichy. The spectators, mostly male, would have nicknamed her “Coco”.

A beautiful woman very courted
During her youth, Coco did not leave men indifferent. Among her many suitors was Étienne de Balsan, a rich businessman. He introduced her to high society. It is thanks to Balsan’s circle that Coco meets Arthur Capel, better known as Boy Capel. She became his mistress.

The “Chanel Modes” salon
Coco launches her first creations, hats, on the advice of her lover Boy Capel. She then continued with clothes that were immediately successful.
Coco was overwhelmed with orders. She called on her cousin and one of her sisters to help her. Boy Capel financed the opening of her first salon in Paris. She went on to open a boutique in Deauville and Biarritz.

More modern women’s fashion

Coco stood out with her shorter skirts. She also removed the waist. She also created the first sports dresses. Then, her sailors will become iconic and timeless. Chanel is also the pioneer of short hair for women.

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