Who was Coco Chanel?

Coco Chanel’s real name was Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. She is well known for her tweed jackets, the little black dress, handbags and she was responsible for many of the innovations that still dictate women’s fashion today. We are bringing you some of the things you may not have known about Coco Chanel.

Coco Chanel learned to sew at an orphanage.

After her mother died when Coco Chanel was around 12 years old, her father put her and her two sisters in a convent-run orphanage. The nuns taught her to sew, to embroider and to iron.

She designed the famous Chanel logo herself.

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” The Chanel logo was designed by Coco Chanel in 1925. Still printed on handbags, earrings, necklaces, and dozens of other products, the Chanel logo is composed of two bold interlaced “C”s mirroring each other. The simple, strong shapes of the letters evoke the authoritative elegance of simplicity based on Coco's philosophy of “less is more.”

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

In the 1950s, it was required for women of status to carry their purse in their hands. But in 1955, Coco Chanel changed all that when she introduced the 2.55 Chanel Shoulder Bag. The sleek bag featured quilted leather and a signature gold chain for the strap, making it glamorous for women to wear a bag on their shoulder.

Coco Chanel lived in the Ritz.

Coco Chanel spent over 30 years of her life living in The Ritz Paris. Even though she was owning a luxurious apartment just above her boutique across the street on rue Cambon, in 1937 she moved into the hotel suite No. 302. She slept there until her death in 1971, but used her apartment during the day.

She was a nurse.

During World War II, Coco Chanel closed her boutique in Paris and volunteered as a nurse. There were rumors of a supposed romance with a Nazi soldier, but they were not proven. After the war was over, she reopened her boutique in Paris.

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