Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born
in 1883 August 19 in Saumur, France in a poorhouse. At a young age she was
placed to an orphanage by her father soon after her mother died. Gabrielle
often remembered this stage of her life and described the cruelty of nuns
towards orphans and the poor hygiene conditions that worsened their lives.
There she claimed her profession as a sewer until she could finally leave the
place at the age of 18. Soon after in Moulins and Vichy she started her short
career as a singer, during the time of her performance she met many wealthy
people, one of them was Étienne Balsan who was attracted to her so much that
later on she moved to his property. That was the time she showed her brilliant
skill for the first time to invent. She made a dress for herself from Balsan’s
horse riding suit so she could ride the horse the same way as men. In 1910 from
her lovers’ support she opened her first hat shop in rue Cambon, Paris. It did
not bring instant success to her but after years of hard work she could run her
business without any added capital from external sources. In the 1920’s her
business was flourishing, n°5 has become the best-selling perfume, her dresses
were changing the world’s view on ladies’ wear. Corsets became the fashion of
past due to her. Time (approximately 25 years) and lovers / partners (Boy
Capel, Igor Stravinsky, the Duke of Westminster, etc.) passed and during the
war she had to close all her shops except for one in Paris which sold high
quality cosmetics. After 15 years of being away from the business life Chanel
made a huge comeback at the age of 70. Immediately again, changed the world by
her style, and fashion once again was looking for her every single move. At the
age of 87 on January 10, 1971 Gabrielle Coco Chanel died in her apartment in
the Ritz, leaving her empire as now we know to Karl Lagerfeld who succeeds to
continue her brilliant artwork.