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11 Bizarre things done in the name of love

Tweed jackets, the little black dress, men's clothing as women's fashion: Coco Chanel is responsible for many innovations that still dominate women's fashion today. But the designer has much more to offer than her gold-chained handbags, the typical smell and the witty remarks – like her verbatim story from rags to riches. Here are 15 things you may not know about the famous French fashion icon Coco Chanel.

. 1 Coco Chanel learned to sew in an orphanage.

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Gabrielle Chanel before 1914.

Apic / Getty Images

Born Gabrielle Chanel on 19 August 1883, the future fashion designer came from humble beginnings. After her mother died at the age of 12, her householder put her and her two sisters in a monastery orphanage. The nuns taught them to sew, and the strict black and white habits began to influence their design aesthetic.

Her nickname, Coco, most likely came from her short time as a singer.

  Coco Chanel, c. 1920.

Coco Chanel, c. 1920.

After leaving the orphanage at the age of 18, she worked in a tailor's shop during the day and eventually sang with the French band.

caf & # 39; concs a kind of cabaret show of the early version, in which bawdy verses were sung in urban bars and working-class restaurants. Chanel and her aunt Adrienne (who was just over a year older than Gabrielle) used these gigs to earn extra money and flirt with the military personnel stationed in Moulins, France. The story states that two of the songs of which Chanel announced " Ko Ko Ri Ko " and " Qui qu & # 39; a vu Coco dans l & # 39; Trocadéro " sang. ("Who saw Coco at the Trocadero?") And the spectators demanded encores by saying "Coco! Coco!" Cried. Of course, Coco is also a term of tenderness for a child (and Chanel would rather relate his father's name to it), and it may also be a diminutive of cocotte a French term for a Captived Woman – which she would become soon.

. 3 Chanel was a licensed milliner.

  Coco Chanel in her Parisian apartment, circa 1959.

Coco Chanel in her Parisian apartment, circa 1959.

After her brief singing career, Chanel became a licensed milliner and opened a hat shop in 1910 named Chanel Modes, in rue Cambon 21 in Paris. The project was funded by Etienne Balsan, a wealthy heir to a textile empire she met as a young officer in Moulins. According to Lisa Chaney's biography Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life Balsan invited her to live with him as his lover, and Coco gladly accepted it.

Chanel got a happy break in her hat shop Gabrielle Dorziat, a famous French actress of the time, became a fan of Chanel's hats and sparked a trend. Later, in Chanel's life, a hat became an unmistakable accessory – photographer Douglas Kirkland, who documented the designer for three weeks, never saw her remove it.

. 4 She designed the famous Chanel logo herself.

  The Chanel Interlocking Cs Logo

Still decorated on handbag, earrings, necklaces and dozens of other products, the famous interlocking "Cs" of the Chanel logo were designed by the designer and created around 1924 first appeared on bottles for their characteristic scent Chanel no. 5. The logo has not changed since then. Theories of inspiration vary, but many suggest Catherine de 'Medici's royal insignia that Chanel might have seen visiting a royal residence. In the walls of Château de Crémat in Nice is the same badge where, according to legend, Chanel attended parties and the two Cs evidently worked well with their name and branding.

Another possibility was the homage to the English aristocrat and polo player Arthur "Boy" Capel, Chanel's longtime lover and the man she considered the love of her life; He died shortly before Christmas 1919 in a car accident, leaving Coco devastated. It is speculated that the Cs for Capel & Chanel could have been – their way of keeping their influence and memory alive.

. 5 Her scent, Chanel # 5, may have been the result of a laboratory error.

  Bottle Chanel No. 5

The story behind Chanel's iconic perfume is full of twists and turns. In the early 1920s, Chanel worked with perfumer Ernest Beaux to create the fragrance. According to reports, Chanel liked the fifth rehearsal of Beaux, which led to the now famous name. (In addition, it should be at five to their lucky number.) But the smell with notes of jasmine, rose, sandalwood and vanilla could have been the result of a laboratory error. The formula contained an unusually high dose of aldehyde – a synthetic component that made the fragrance sparkle. The fragrance and its groundbreaking, minimalist bottle design would become one of the world's best-selling and best-known perfumes.

. 6 Chanel launched a decade-long trial of her perfume.

  Portrait of Coco Chanel

In a shop, Chanel No. Chanel kept its name on the bottle but received only 10 percent of the profit. The businessman Pierre Wertheimer agreed to mass-produce the perfume by 70 percent (Théophile Bader, founder of the famous Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, received the other 20 percent for brokering the deal). For years, Chanel went to court to try to sweeten their deal – in effect, the Wertheimer business had a lawyer whose sole job was to engage with Chanel.

. 7 Chanel was allegedly a Nazi agent.

<img typeof = "foaf: Image" src = "https://images.mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/styles/width-constrained-728/public/542104-flickr-coco_at_ritz.jpg?itok = vHkoA4P1 "alt =" Chanel in her Suite at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, 1937 Chanel in her Suite at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, 1937.

After Changel's death in 1971, classified documents began to appear that would fully reflect her Dealing with the Nazis during the Second World War revealed their decades-long affair with the German intelligence agent Hans Günther Von Dincklage was well known (she remained at the Ritz during much of the occupation by the Nazis in Paris), but in his 2011 book Sleeping With the Enemy journalist Hal Vaughan said that Chanel was well enough involved in the Nazi agenda that she was called the F-7124 defense agent – codename "Westminster." "Legions of women with courage and courage were widespread throughout Europe Conviction work that works hard on it were used to outsmart the Nazis ", The Book Review of the Washington Post . "Chanel was not among them."

When the war was over, Chanel banished himself to Switzerland before returning to Paris in 1954 to reopen her fashion house. Chanel (the firm) denied the allegations in Vaughn's book arguing that she had many close Jewish friends before and after the war and that her role during the Nazi occupation may have been more differentiated.

. 8 Chanel even asked for Nazi help in Chanel Fight # 5.

 A Chanel no. 5 advertisement in a magazine from 1971.

A Chanel no. 5 ad in a 1971 magazine.

During World War II, Chanel used her Nazi ties and tried to use the Aryan laws to force Pierre Wertheimer and his Jewish brother out of their business. Thanks to short-term business transactions in which the majority stake was sold to an Aryan businessman during the war, the Wertheimers were able to retain their investments and regain their full ownership after the war. Incredibly, the Wertheimers eventually financed Chanel's return of the fashion industry in the 1950s. The notoriously honest Wertheimer family refuses to interview or talk about their dealings or relationships with Coco Chanel, but she still owns the Chanel brand to this day. According to recent estimates, it is worth 8 billion dollars.

. 9 Winston Churchill was friends with Chanel's friend.

 Winston Churchill (right) is accompanied by his son Randolph and Coco Chanel at a meeting of the Eberhounds of the Duke of Westminster in northern France around 1928.

Winston Churchill (right) is accompanied by his son Randolph and Coco Chanel at a 1928 meeting of the Eberhounds of the Duke of Westminster in northern France.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Chanel had well-placed friends everywhere, including politicians. She met Winston Churchill in the mid-1920s through her then-lover, the Duke of Westminster. The Duke, one of the richest men in the world and one of considerable influence, was a close friend of Churchill (the former Chancellor of the Exchequer), and the future Prime Minister was a regular at home. Once, Churchill wrote in a letter home that "the famous [Coco Chanel] came up and I was very interested in her – a most capable and pleasant woman … She hunted energetically all day, went to Paris after dinner and is today busy with her pulling past endless streams of mannequins and improving her clothes … She does everything with her own fingers, pinning, cutting, grinding … some have to be changed ten times. "More than a decade later, during World War II used this old friendship by the Nazis to try to form an alliance with England.

10th Although Chanel had many relationships, she never married.

 Gabrielle Chanel and Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich of Russia, circa 1920.

Gabrielle Chanel and Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich of Russia, circa 1920.

The only thing for which Chanel was more famous than her fashions were, her historical affairs. Her many talents included a short-lived with Pablo Picasso (Lisa Chaney's biography ). Coco Chanel, An Intimate Life describes his demise as "Picasso [was]who is always demanding sexual and emotional conversations from his wives, and Gabrielle was in many ways as intense and formidable as he was, the affair had only one short), the Duke of Westminster, the grandson of a Russian tsar and the composer Igor Stravinsky. When Stravinsky reworked his famous The Rite of Spring in 1920 for a new staging with a Parisian ballet company, Chanel was one of the main patrons.

. 11 The Chanel bag made it acceptable for women to wear shoulder bags.

 A Chanel advertisement, circa 1956.

A Chanel advertisement, circa 1956.

In the 1950s, de rigueur was for women with status in their pocket to carry her hands. But in 1955, Chanel changed all this when she introduced the Chanel Shoulder Bag 2.55 (named after her introduction in February 1955). The slim bag had quilted leather and a distinctive golden chain for the strap, which made women glamorous wearing a bag on the shoulder.

12th Chanel made jersey fabric cool.

 The in & # 39; Les Elegances Parisiennes & # 39; Published illustration shows three women in day outfits of "gabrielle =" "channel =" "consisting =" "out =" "= =" "tunic =" "jackets =" "and =" "full =" "jersey =" "rirts = "" march = "

The in & # 39; Les Elegances Parisiennes & # 39; published illustration shows three women in daily outfits from "Gabrielle Channel" (sic) consisting of tunic-jackets with belt and full-skirt skirts; March 1917.

When Chanel began designing at the beginning of the 20th century, womenswear put on the corset that made for tight, fitted, and uncomfortable styles. Chanel liberated the silhouette with jersey – a fabric that was used primarily for men's underwear. Jersey was cheap and well draped, making it perfect for Chanel's early designs of simple dresses.

. 13 Chanel also praised the popularization of the little black dress.

 A small Chanel dress and accessories by Chanel, photographed in 1964 for French Vogue.

A small Chanel dress and accessories by Chanel, photographed in 1964 for French Vogue .

Perhaps the most long-lasting fashion wardrobe that can be reinvented and re-invented in a thousand different ways was another revolutionary idea that Chanel once brought to the masses: the little black dress. Vogue coined the term 1926, printed a Chanel design and compared it to the Ford Model T in terms of universality (they called the dress "the dress that will wear the whole world"). Although the LBD is now considered a must-have, it was revolutionary at the time, with black as the color of mourning.

fourteenth Chanel even made a fashionable tan.

 Coco Chanel on the French Riviera in the mid-twenties.

Coco Chanel on the French Riviera in the mid-twenties.

Apic / Getty Images

The LBD, striped shirts, perfume, men's clothing as women's fashion: Everything Chanel did set a trend. And that includes tanning. In the early twenties, when obviously spending too much time in the sun, Chanel was on a cruise with the Duke of Westminster in the Mediterranean slightly bronzed. The resulting photos of her arrival in Cannes are often seen as a spur to the sun-kissed glow (which she soon used with the first line of tanning lotions for women).

15th Katharine Hepburn played Chanel in a Broadway musical.


a 1969 musical based on Chanel's life, had a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner (known for the blockbuster My Fair Lady ). Although Katharine Hepburn was an old stage actress, the fourfold Oscar winner was not particularly known for her vocal part – and this was to be her only musical. The show had only 329 appearances on Broadway, but thanks to YouTube, the company's performance at the 1970 Tony Awards is still available – they were nominated tonight for seven Tonys and won two. Even if the musical had no stamina, at least the thought of a pioneer of the modern, trouser-studded woman playing another feels – how would you say? – je ne sais quoi . [19659065] (function (d, s, id) {
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