Chanel’s Legacy

Famous fashion designer, Coco Chanel, left a legacy that continues today. She transformed fashion and beauty standards for women, especially after WWII. Chanel was an orphan and grew up in a convent in Aubazine. There she was taught how to sew by the nuns. She acquired the name “Chanel” from those who watched her preform with her sister in clubs. She began her fashion career with her small hat shop which became wildly popular and eventually, with help, she opened her own boutique in Paris. Chanel’s clothing altered women’s fashion; she took elements of menswear and made it comfortable yet chic by designing trousers, jerseys, and suits for women.

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s wearing a little black dress

Of all that Coco is famous for, her “little black dress” became a wardrobe essential, as its simplicity and versatility was favorable among most women. In addition, her signature fragrance Chanel No. 5 is still sold today and was the first designer perfume. Coco Chanel also popularized sun tanning by making it a sign of leisure. Before pale skin had been a sign of wealth, however she made tan skin “fashionable”. Chanel’s iconic quilted leather handbag and tweed suit are a couple others. As Chanel famously said, “Fashion is made to become unfashionable.”

Chanel works on a model for her first collection in 1954


Gabrielle Chanel photographed by Cecil Beaton, 1937

Karl Lagerfeld is the current fashion designer and creative director of the Chanel fashion house. Within all Chanel collections that he designs he incorporates Coco Chanel’s style and elegance while sticking to his own design aesthetic.


What do you think Coco Chanel is most famous for today?


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