How it all started….
In the early 1900’s, the fashion designer, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel created Coco Chanel, a brand that is seen as one of the most popular luxury brands to date. Coco Chanel got its name from a song she loved. This song was called Cocotte. She made a short form of the name into Coco and added her last name, calling the brand Coco Chanel. From fragrances to purses, this company knows how to bring great quality to the fashion industry. How did it all start you may ask? Let’s take it back to 1910, where the famous fashion designer opened her first hat shop in Paris. Gabrielle learned how to sew at a very young age and became a milliner in her young years. After a couple years of her first opening, she expanded her reach to a small town called Deauville. With this expansion, her creativity began to flourish, and she started to design clothing. She was the mastermind behind the “Jersey Dress”. In fact, Chanel’s first used fabrics were sport jersey material. This was because Gabrielle wanted the garments to be comfortable and breathable for women’s active lifestyle in the decade. Now, the number one product that was the foundation for Chanel’s success was her perfume, which was called Chanel No.5. This invention is what lead to the great success of Chanel for many years to come. How did Gabrielle create such a big empire with different products? Let’s check it out.
The Chanel Tweed Suit:
The tweed suit was inspired by Gabrielle’s then boyfriend as she preferred wearing her significant others clothing because to her, it was much more comfortable. She wanted to create an outfit that allowed both masculine and feminine aspects to be portrayed through the garment. She decided to make a sophisticated suit that women could wear, but it would be just as comfortable as menswear. Men’s sportswear and the comfortable materials used to make them sparked the idea of the famous tweed suit. The photo on the right was one of the first tweed suits modeled by Gabrielle. You can see similarities in the modern version today on the left. Both suits are loose fitting, giving the outfit a more masculine look. Chanel introduced comfortable garments for women in the early 1900’s. This material made an enormous impact on haute couture today. Tweed suits are still worn on runways to this day.
Chanel No. 5:
Did you know there is a significance behind the name of this famous perfume? According to Gabrielle, it was the fifth sample smell in the process of creating a high-quality perfume. This perfume was intended to create a vision of absolute femininity. This perfume is still made by the amalgamation of flowers including ylang ylang and rose. This perfume needed to portray a combination of floral scents, thus representing the different feminine aspects of a women. She cared about cleanliness which is what she wanted to exude in her perfume. She wanted a scent that would smell fresh, clean and long lasting. This fragrance caught the attention of everyone including soldiers. In 1925, there would be line ups of men from the army who would wait to purchase this famously known perfume. Till this day, it is one of the best fragrances that populate retail stores across the globe. Marilyn Monroe was an actress that supported the fragrance which encouraged people from all over the world to snatch a bottle of the luxurious perfume. The shape of the bottle has changed, always conveying a classy elegant bottle. The ingredients of the perfume have stayed the same, staying true to the luxury brand.
The 2.55 Chanel Handbag:
For those of you who don’t know, this bag is possibly the greatest handbag from Chanel. Made with aged calfskin and sewn in a quilted pattern, this handbag was intended for women to keep their hands free when they were on a night in the town. The name of this handbag was named after the date it was created. It was designed in 1955 in February. She had created many bags before the famous 2.55 Chanel Handbag; however, they were all bags that had to be carried by the women’s hands. This was the first shoulder bag that gave women the option to carry it over their shoulder instead of having to hold it the entire night. This bag changed history and inspired other craftsman in the industry to construct shoulder bags just like it. Of course, none of them could ever be as great as the original Chanel Handbag. You can still find this priceless product at Chanel today.
At Coco Chanel today, they still sell these staple pieces. The Tweed suit is seen in different variations from pant suits to dresses. The famous perfume is still the top 10 perfume out of all luxury brands. The leather patterned purse is the first purse that allowed women’s hands to be free thus creating the trend of cross body bags and shoulder bags. These great inventions transformed the fashion industry and opened the door to fashion styles and patterns that are outside of the box. Due to the success with these high-quality products, there is no doubt the legacy of this brand will continue for more years to come.
By: Melania Cammalleri