Gabrielle "CoCo" Chanel

A french fashion designer that made a smash in the 1920's

About her life

Gabrielle Chanel was born in August 1882 in France and died there on January in 1971. Her mother died and her father left her and her five siblings. Chanel went to a boarding school and was raised by the nuns there. Chanel got her nickname "Coco" from when she was singing about a poor girl who had a dog named Coco and when she left the stage the people called for her to come out again by yelling "Coco!". Chanel often made up stories about how she grew up because she spent most of her life feeling unwanted and unloved. She worked as a seamstress briefly and found that fashion was her forte. Chanel opened her first business in 1909 Etienne Balsan and Arthur Chapel, both people she had had relationships with. Chanel and Basan did not last long but he helped with her getting in with a higher social group and that is what really helped her business. Chapel and Chanel on the other hand were "made for each other" in the words of Chanel. Chapel passed away in a car accident in 1920 and even though he was married to another Chanel says he was always affectionate to her and she knew what they had meant something. Chanel continued opening up shops around France and made clothes more comfortable and stylish than constricting and frilly. Chanel created and made the "little black dress" look. Chanel also made the famous No.5 Chanel perfume which was named after it being the fifth test batch of perfume she chose that worked. Chanel died in 1971 but her fashion and perfumes still live on.


Chanel made the biggest impact obviously in the fashion industry, what she did was make different clothes and expressing yourself cool. She took away corsets and frilly dresses and changed them into loose comfy yet stylish neutral toned dresses and even made suits popular among women.


- Where did Chanel grow up?

- Who helped Chanel with her first shop?

Mini Bio: Coco Chanel