All About French Fashion Designer Coco Chanel
Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971) was a French fashion designer of women’s clothes and founder of the Chanel brand. Along with Paul Poiret, Chanel was credited in the post-World War I era with liberating women from the constraints of the “corseted silhouette” and popularizing a sportive, and casual chic as the feminine standard of style.
She is widely regarded as the greatest fashion designer who ever lived, thus making the name of Chanel iconic. A prolific fashion creator, Chanel extended her influence beyond couture clothing, realising her design aesthetic in jewellery, handbags, and fragrance. Her signature scent, Chanel No. 5, has become an iconic product. She is the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Chanel was known for her lifelong determination, ambition, and energy which she applied to her professional and social life. She achieved both success as a business woman and social prominence, thanks to the connections she made through her work. These included many artists and craftspeople to whom she became a patron. In 1970 her net worth was $19 billion (equivalent to $118 billion in 2015). Chanel became one of the richest women of all time.
Her social connections appeared to encourage a highly conservative personal outlook. Rumors arose about Chanel’s activities during the German occupation of France in World War II, and she was criticised for being too comfortable with the Germans but never thoroughly investigated. After several years in Switzerland after the war, she returned to Paris and revived her fashion house.
In 2011 Hal Vaughan published a book on Chanel based on newly declassified documents of that era, revealing that she had collaborated with Germans in intelligence activities. One plan in late 1943 was for her to carry an SS separate peace overture to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to end the war.
Depictions in popular culture
The Broadway musical Coco, music by André Previn, book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, opened 18 December 1969 and closed 3 October 1970. It is set in 1953–1954 at the time that Chanel was reestablishing her couture house. Chanel was played by Katharine Hepburn for the first eight months, and by Danielle Darrieux for the rest of its run.
The first film about Chanel was Chanel Solitaire (1981), directed by George Kaczender and starring Marie-France Pisier, Timothy Dalton, and Rutger Hauer.
Coco Chanel (2008), was a television movie starring Shirley MacLaine as a 70-year-old Chanel. Directed by Christian Duguay, the film also starred Barbora Bobuľová as the young Chanel and Olivier Sitruk as Boy Capel.
Coco avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel) (2009), was a French-language biographical film starring Audrey Tautou as the young Chanel, with Benoît Poelvoorde as Étienne Balsan and Alessandro Nivola as Boy Capel
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009), was a French-language film directed by Jan Kounen. Anna Mouglalis played Chanel, and Mads Mikkelsen played Igor Stravinsky. The film was based on the 2002 novel Coco and Igor by Chris Greenhalgh, which concerns a purported affair between Chanel and Stravinsky. It was chosen to close the Cannes Film Festival of 2009.