Chanel: Where it all began

By: KATIE CLASS

Chanel is a household name that’s been around since the turn of the century. Coco Chanel has inspired masses and her company’s rich legacy has always been in fashion’s limelight. As a result of her being a pioneer and entrepreneur in her field she is one of the most quoted and respected couturiers. Recently I had the pleasure of traveling to the Normandy coastal town of Deauville in the north of France to the location of Chanel’s first fashion boutique.

“All men are children, and if you understand that, a woman understands everything” – Coco Chanel

Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s love, Arthur “Boy” Capel funded her first store opening “Chanel Modes” in 1910 that only sold hats, located at 21 rue Cambon in Paris. It wasn’t until 1918 when she gained momentum and expanded into the entire building. 31 rue Cambon becomes the new address.

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance” – Coco Chanel

The first fashion boutique Chanel opened was located in Deauville, France in 1913. Here, Chanel sold hats as well as the sportswear outfits that popularized after World War I. Today, 102 years later, nothing but a sign remains to commemorate the special location.

Katie Class in front of Chanel's first Deauville boutique

Katie Class in front of Chanel’s first Deauville boutique

Coco Chanel at her Deauville boutique |  Image courtesy: http://inside.chanel.com/en/timeline/1913_deauville

Coco Chanel at her Deauville boutique | Image courtesy: http://inside.chanel.com/en/timeline/1913_deauville

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future” – Coco Chanel

Mademoiselle Chanel chose the famous perfumer Ernest Beaux to create Chanel No. 5. The perfume consists of unnatural ingredients, that went against the perfume trends of the time which were only created with floral components. When he proposed the scents, Chanel chose the 5th sample.

Tribute to the Chanel No. 5 by the cartoonist SEM |  Image courtesy: http://inside.chanel.com/en/no5/campaigns/1921_no5_sem

Tribute to the Chanel No. 5 by the cartoonist SEM | Image courtesy: http://inside.chanel.com/en/no5/campaigns/1921_no5_sem

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different” – Coco Chanel

Can you picture the color black not being an option in ones wardrobe? Prior to the 1920’s wearing black was reserved for widows and those in mourning. However, Chanel thought that all the colors were impossible. It was in 1926 that Vogue released a sketch of her simple LBD. The sketch was labeled: “frock that all the world would wear.” We can thank Chanel for popularizing this staple we all love today.

“May my legend prosper and thrive. I wish it a long and happy life” – Coco Chanel

In 1971 at age 87 Chanel passed away in her apartment at the Ritz Hotel. Today, 44 years later, Chanel is ranked on Forbes list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands.

 

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