26 Things You Probably Never Knew About Chanel
There's no confusing those interlocking Cs; the iconic Chanel logo is one we've all seen (and craved). But before the brand became a lust-worthy label, it was just a modest millinery shop in Paris. Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, whom we know as Coco, changed the course of fashion history when she began her business in 1909. She first rose to popularity during the turn of the century, but shoppers still go wild for the quilted bags and two-toned shoes imagined so long ago.
So how did Chanel grow to become the powerhouse it is today? We looked back on the brand's longstanding history, from Coco's inception to Karl Lagerfeld's everlasting influence on the fashion house, to find out exactly what makes Chanel so special. Because as Coco once said: "I don't do fashion, I am fashion." Read on for a mini history lesson on the brand that transformed women's fashion forever.
Coco Chanel began as a milliner in 1909.
After leaving a convent at age 18, Coco worked in a tailoring shop while struggling to become a music hall performer. She finally opened her own shop in 1909.
Coco Chanel opened her store on Rue Cambon in Paris in 1910.
The lease originally forbade the sale of couture dresses since there was already a couture shop in the building. In 1918, she moved down the street to 31 Rue Cambon, where there is still a store today.
The iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume was created in 1921.
Coco reportedly wanted "a woman's perfume with a woman's scent." The iconic bottle's diamond stopper was inspired by Paris's Place Vendome.
Coco introduced tweed to women.
In 1924, Chanel began work with a Scottish factory to produce the fabric after borrowing tweed sportswear from the Duke of Westminster.
Chanel also created the little black dress as we know it.
A sketch of Coco's design appeared in a 1926 issue of American Vogue, where it was identified as the shape of the future.
And pioneered the women's suit.
The look usually consisted of two or three pieces and became a must buy for women during the '10s and '20s.
She also popularized her eponymous two-toned shoes and gold-chained handbags.
Her accessories, especially handbags, became popular during the brand's resurgence in the 1950s. The quilted bag debuted in February 1955.
And while the classic accessories will continue to rule . . .
You could also invest in a Chanel Hula-Hoop bag from the Spring 2013 collection (which will only set you back $2,400).
During the 1930s, Chanel developed a rivalry with Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
During World War II, Chanel closed her salon.
During that time, she lived in the Ritz Hotel, which later became the headquarters of Nazi High Command in Paris.
Karl Lagerfeld took over as chief designer in 1983.
The designer was convinced to cancel his contract at Chloé to work at Chanel for an annual salary of $1 million.
And both Karl and Choupette have caught the eye of street artists.
Artist Bradley Theodore created this work in New York.
Every year, Chanel's Métiers d'Art show features the work of ateliers.
The beautifully detailed collections highlight the talent of the workshops that produce everything from leather to lace.
The intricate show took place in Salzberg in 2014.
Texas in 2013.
Scotland in 2012, and more!
Karl was known for his spectacular shows.
The Summer 2015 show featured model protestors.
Like this futuristic landscape during the Fall 2013 Haute Couture show.
And this under the seascape from the Fall 2012 show.
And even a Chanel-themed art museum for the Spring 2014 show.
Models walked around a giant globe for Fall 2013.
And even shopped at a Chanel grocery store for Fall 2014.
Yes, even the shopping cart was Chanel approved.
Hudson Kroenig is the mini model featured in many of Lagerfeld's shows.
The son of model Brad Kroenig, Hudson is Lagerfeld's godson and has made an appearance in Chanel shows since he was just 2. Here he walked in the Haute Couture Spring 2014 show.
Chanel named Virginie Viard its creative director.
Following the death of Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel announced that Virginie Viard will take over as the fashion house's creative director. Since 1987, Viard has worked as studio director for Chanel and was Lagerfeld's close confidant. Viard will carry on his legacy and orchestrate Chanel's future collections.