Coco Chanel

By: Sara Mullins

Short Biography of Coco Chanel:

Coco Chanel was born in 1883 at a workhouse in Loire Valley from her unmarried mother. Coco’s original name was Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. When Coco was just 6 years old her mother passed away, so her father sent Coco to the Catholic Monastery of Aubazine, which was an orphanage. Coco, a nickname, was given to her by local soldiers when they went to see her sing at cafes and concert halls. Coco was a mistress to an ex-military and textile heir, Etienne Balsan, when Chanel was just 23 years old. Coco and Etienne lived in a Chateau for 3 years. Next, Coco was with Arthur Edward Capel, a wealthy English Industrialist, for 9 years until he died in a car crash. But, some people hated Coco because she had an affair with a Nazi officer during World War 2. Coco worked as a fashion designer till the day she died. All her life Coco lied about when she was actually born, which was 1883, but she told people she was actually born in 1893, making herself seem 10 years younger.

Coco is mostly remembered by how her designs and clothes changed peoples thoughts on how women should act. Coco was the first designer to create a loose women’s jersey, she also launched a cardigan jacket in 1925, and everyone adored the launch of her little black dress in 1926. She was also very loved by Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly because of her stylish fashion. She designed Cocteau’s Antigone costume in 1923, designed Oedipus Rex costume in 1937, and also designed many of La Regle de Jeu costumes. She also had a famous film, Chanel Famous Solitaire, written about her in 1981, a television show, Coco Chanel, written about her in 2008, and Audrey Tatou played Coco in Coco Before Chanel in 2009.
Coco Chanel a Biography

Movie Questions:

1. Who helped Coco Chanel open her first hat shop?

2. When did Coco Chanel return to the fashion industry?

Coco's Impact on History:

Coco helped take part in pushing women to take a notice about the clothes they wear. She also helped women express themselves through the clothes women wore to feel good in.