Top 10 facts
5. Even Monroe
The House of Chanel has always had one signature scent and that is No. 5. However, Chanel No. 5 didn't make a splash until Marilyn Monroe gave the most alluring answer for her first LIFE magazine cover. “What do you wear to bed?” the magazine asked her. “Just a few drops of Chanel No. 5," she responded.
4. Not a Hollywood Kind of Lady.
Chanel caught the attention of Hollywood movie makers, specifically Samuel Goldwyn. The film producer offered Chanel a pretty substantial contract. All she had to do was fly to Hollywood twice a year and design costumes for starlets. It was then that she created looks for Gloria Swanson for the film Tonight or Never, while Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich became private clients. But Chanel wasn't all that pleased with Hollywood. She was quoted as saying that Hollywood was vulgar and “the capital of bad taste.”
3. The Breakthrough
What started simply as a hat boutique flourished into a full-fledged clothing store which catapulted Chanel into a real fashion designer—and it all started with a jersey. Back in the 1920s, rich women wore ornate and expensive dresses made out of exotic fabrics. Countering that, the innovative designer created an outfit out of jersey material, which was a type of cloth that is used primarily for men’s underwear. She said she chose this material because of its low price and because it complemented a woman’s body. "I make fashion women can live in, breathe in, feel comfortable in and look younger in," Chanel said. The rest is fashion history.
2. Young and Talented
At the tender age of 12, Chanel’s father left her and her sisters in an orphanage after the passing of their mother. It was at this convent that the nuns taught Chanel how to sew. She lived there for six years and mastered her craft. Chanel was able to leave the convent at age 18, and after a couple of years, she returned to her hobby of sewing and began crafting her own hat designs.
1. Always the Designer, Never the Bride
1. Even though Chanel never married, she had a few prominent lovers that made a vital impression on her career—and sometimes not always for the good. The first was Etienne Balsan, a French socialite and polo player who helped her set up shop. How convenient, right? It was at his bachelor pad that he allowed Chanel to open up her first hat boutique on the first floor. And it was through Balsan that she would later meet her true financier and muse: Arthur Edward "Boy" Capel. Capel, who was also a polo player, put up the funds for Chanel’s first shops. She also became romantically involved with Hans Gunther von Dincklage, a German officer 13 years her junior. There were also rumors she had ties toIgor Stravinsky and was close to Pablo Picasso.