Widely regarded as one of the world’s chicest brands, Gabrielle Chanel pioneered stylish yet functional fashion and the brand remains incredibly popular and highly coveted to this day. Here, we celebrate the timeless appeal of one of our favourite fashion houses and put the spotlight on Chanel…
From humble beginnings, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born in Saumur, France in 1883 and in 1907 met Ètienne Balsan, a socialite who introduced her to the luxury lifestyle.
Chanel began making hats in 1909, selling them to the glamorous women she met through networking; which enabled her to earn a living independently of Balsan. It was in 1910 that she met the love of her life Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel who financed her first millinery shop Chanel Modes at 21 Rue Cambon in Paris. Her designs quickly became favourited by the most famous French actresses of the time and her reputation grew.
In 1913 Chanel introduced a range of jersey sportswear; revolutionising women’s lives and the relationships with their bodies. In 1918 she opened her couture house at the now infamous 31 Rue Cambon, Paris. Here she created the perfume that changed the whole fragrance industry – Chanel No5 and the most important piece in any woman’s wardrobe; the little black dress.
Gabrielle Chanel was a practical woman who needed her clothing and accessories to fit with her lifestyle. Tired of having to carry her bag in her hands, she took inspiration from soldier’s packs and in the 1920’s added a long strap to her own carry all. Needless to say, that style has captivated women ever since.
Chanel used fashion as a tool to define herself – in turn creating pieces that empowered women; freeing them from the confines of waist-cinching, uncomfortable and restrictive garments. She broke the rules, cropped her hair and was the first person to use men’s tailoring to give women an air of sartorial dignity.
Mademoiselle Chanel died on 10th January 1971.
“May my legend prosper and thrive. I wish it a long and happy life!”
The House of Chanel lived on and the posthumous collections were continually successful. With the introduction of a ready-to-wear line and the worldwide distribution of its iconic accessories – the brand goes from strength to strength.
In 1983 Karl Lagerfeld is appointed artistic director and later went on to release the Chanel Double Flap bag with iconic interlocking C detail – now one of the world’s most coveted handbags.
Under the innovative guidance of Lagerfeld, Chanel has become even edgier – with catwalk shows set in supermarkets, a space shuttle and around a 40 foot, 8 tonne gold lion! What remains is the brand’s timeless appeal, elegant yet practical style and what seem to be recession-proof pieces – Chanel handbags are now considered a more worthwhile investment than the stock market!
We talk a lot about ‘forever pieces’ – those extra-special purchases that excite and make us feel a million dollars. You can’t deny Chanel does just that; whether its a simple blouse, a jacket or a handbag. In a world of throwaway ‘fast fashion’ it’s wonderful to stop and appreciate the exquisite skill and time that goes into creating these beautiful designer pieces. We guarantee you will fall cherish your Chanel for years to come.
Shop our Chanel collection here and invest in an icon.
“A girl should be two things: classy & fabulous.”