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Coco Chanel Biography

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Leonie Tollefson

on 4 June 2013

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Transcript of Coco Chanel Biography

Coco Chanel Early Life Birth Name: Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel
Born: August 19, 1883
Place of Birth: Workhouse in Loire Valley, Saumur, in France
Parents: Albert Chanel & Jeanne Devolle
Siblings: Antoinette Chanel, Lucien Chanel, Augustin Chanel, Alphonse Chanel, and Julia Chanel Childhood -On August 19th, 1883, Gabrielle became the second child of the unmarried couple Albert Chanel and Jeanne Devolle

-Gabrielle's mother died in 1895, though the cause of her death is unknown, Chanel later said she died of Tuberculosis.

-Gabrielle's father took his six children to Aubazine, where he abandoned them with relatives and he went to America.

-Gabrielle and her sisters, Julia and Antoinette, were left at a Catholic Monastery orphanage where Gabrielle was raised and taught to sew. Her brothers were left to work for a peasant family. Chanel's Childhood Lies -In numerous interviews Chanel lied about her childhood and family saying, "“My life didn't please me, so I created my life.”

-Lied about her date of birth saying she was born in 1893, not 1883.

-She said she was born in Auvergne, France instead of the poor city of Saumur.

-Said her mother died when she was 6, not 12.

-Said her father left her with two spinster aunts instead of an orphanage.

-Said she only had one sister and no brothers.

-Chanel said that her father was under 30 (he was about 40) and left because he couldn't take care of two daughters alone (actually had six children). Orphanage where Chanel and her sisters were raised by nuns City where Chanel was born Life in the Orphanage -Had many rules in orphanage with strict nuns.

-Learned to be a seamstress.

-Gabrielle did have family, as her father had 19 siblings, had spent some vacations with her grandparents and young aunts, Adrienne and Louise.

-Does not wish to remember life in orphanage.

-Left at age 18 because orphanage only kept girls who had a religious vocation.

-Went to the Notre Dame school in Moulins for a short while with her aunt Adrienne before they became seamstresses. Coco Chanel in an interview on The Gorgeous Daily in 1969 Beginning Career First Jobs -Had a short job as a shop assistant in Notre Dame, where she was a seamstress with her aunt Adrienne.

-She first sang and dance, trying to accomplish a theater career.

-Sang in cafes and concert halls where local drunk soldiers watched and nicknamed her Coco after one of her songs. Living with Balsan -Chanel met Etienne Balsan, a rich ex- military officer when she was about 20.

-Chanel moved in with Balsan and married him.

-Chanel lived with Balsan for 3 years, and it is unclear if Chanel became pregnant in that time. Some sources say Julia, Chanel's sister, was still in the orphanage and became pregnant and had a son Andre Palasse.

-Julia passed away and Chanel took custody of Andre, and sent him to boarding school. It was rumored that Andre was actually the son of Chanel and Balsan.

-Balsan later moved next to Andre and his two daughters, Gabrielle and Helene, and it was said that he was close to the family.

-Balsan offered to help her with her first hat shop. Coco Chanel as a shopgirl with one of many admirers Coco Chanel in 1909 Coco Chanel with Etienne Balsan Chanel with Balsan in his chateau "Boy" Capel -After 3 years, Chanel left Balsan for his wealthier friend Arthur Capel, nicknamed "Boy" by his friends.

-Capel funded Chanel's dream by paying and helping her with her first milliner (hat) shop in Paris, France in 1910.

-After her hat shop was a success, Capel helped her with her first boutique in Deauville, France in 1913.

-Capel married Diana Wyndham in 1918, but continued to see Chanel until his death on December 21, 1919.

-25 years after Capel's death, Chanel said in an interview, "His death was a terrible blow to me. In losing Capel, I lost everything. What followed was not a life of happiness I have to say." Chanel with Capel Chanel with her aunt Adrienne at her first shop in 1910 Chanel as a Designer -In Chanel's time, women wore long dresses with corsets, but Chanel changed all that.

-Chanel decided to change what was normal for women back then by bobbing her hair, wearing boyish clothes, and having financial independence.

-Chanel's lifestyle is reflected in her clothing. Her first big success was a dress made out of jersey.

-Chanel didn't like the big corseted dresses because of their lack of comfort, and she decided high fashion must be comfortable, so her motto was, "Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury."

-Chanel in the 1920s became the first designer to make loose fitted jersey women's clothing.

-In 1922 Chanel released her signature scent Chanel No. 5, which is still popular today. It got it's name by being released on May 5 (5-5) and being the Chanel's favorite choice out of 5 fragrance choices. Duke of Westminster -In the 1920s Chanel started another romance with the Duke of Westminster.

-His friends referred to him as Bendor, Chanel called him Bennie.

-Chanel always rejected his marriage proposal, saying there were many Duchesses of Westminster, but only one Chanel.

-Chanel often went to the Duke's home, the Reay Forest Estate and fished in the River Laxford.

-She borrowed Bendor's tweed clothing and it gave her inspiration for her signature tweed jackets.

-They had a relationship that lasted decades. Chanel with one of her hats Chanel on the Duke's yacht Famous Chanel Into the War -At the beginning of the 1930s the economic depression had a negative impact on Chanel's company.

-At the start of WWII, Chanel fired her workers and closed her business.

-While the Germans were in France, Chanel started a relationship with the Nazi officer Hans Gunther von Dincklage. She was arrested in September 1944, but released hours later. Some say her friend Winston Churchill helped release her.

-After her arrest Chanel moved to Switzerland to escape controversy. She lived there for almost 10 years in a self-imposed exile.

-Her popularity greatly diminished because of her affair. "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different."
--Coco Chanel-- Back to Fashion -In 1953, when Chanel was about 70 years old, she decided to reopen her business.

-On February 5, 1953, she came back with a legendary fashion show.

-At first Chanel received hateful reviews from critics, but after three years Coco Chanel was back on top.

-She introduced women's pea jackets and bell bottoms.

-She continued to make her style and clothing comfortable.

-She remains a legacy to this day, and her designs changed women's fashion forever. Coco Chanel 1953 Two years after Chanel No. 5 came out, Pierre Wertheimer became her business partner (taking on 70% of the fragrance business), and also a long-time lover. The Wertheimers continue to control the perfume company today. End of Life -A broadway musical of her life opened in 1969, and Katharine Hepburn played the role of Chanel.

-She kept designing clothes until her death on January 10, 1971, at the age of 88.

-She died at her private apartment in The Ritz.

-In 1982 Karl Lagerfeld became chief designer of Chanel's fashion house.

-There are several books and movies about her life. Coco Chanel at the age of 88 Chanel 1930s by Leonie Tollefson Fun Facts -She made the tan popular after returning from a cruise sunburned.

-The double C that stands for her brand does not mean Coco Chanel, it means Chanel and Capel.

-Her brand is well-known for Chanel's signature two-tone shoes, quilted bags, costume jewelry, and suits made of tweed or jersey.

-Chanel loved pockets in her clothes, and there was always some pockets in every collection.

-Her favorite number was 5, so every collection came out on the 5th of the month. BIBLIOGRAPHY http://www-secure.easybib.com/key/11a413
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