Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel was born on August 19, 1883 in the small town of Saumur in France. The employees of the hospital of which she was born were illiterate so they could not provide the correct surname. Instead they spelled it "Chasnel." This mispelling made it almost impossible for biographers to be able to trace Chanels roots. She had five siblings, two sisters and three brothers. In 1895, when Chanel was 12 her mother died of tuberculosis and her dad later left the family. Because of this Chanel had to live in an orphanage where she learned the trade of a seamstress. School vacations were spent with relatives who taught her to sew with more flourish than the nuns at the monastery could demonstrate. At the age of 18 she left the orphanage and took off for the town of Moulins to become a cabaret singer. This time she sang in clubs and got the nickname of "Chanel." Though she failed to become a singer this is where she met Etienne Balsan, to whom she soon became a mistress, working in a tailoring shop. While living with Balsan Coco started to become very interested in the designing of hats. After opening her eyes she left Balsan and took over his apartment in Paris. Then, in 1910 Chanel became a licensed modiste and opened her own boutique at 21 rue Cambon, Paris named Chanel Modes. Chanel's career boomed when theatre actress Gabrielle Dorizat modeled her hats in the play Bel Ami. In 1913 she opened up another boutique in the town of Deauville where she introduced casual clothing for leisure. In 1915, Chanel launched her career as a fashion designer after opening her next boutique Chanel-Biarittz. By 1919, she was registered as a couturiere and established her maison de couture at 31 rue Cambon. In 1939, the beginning of World War II, Chanel closed her shops. She believed that it was not a time of fashion. In 1945 she moved to Switzerland but then in 1954 she moved back to Paris and returned to the fashion world. There was an even a movie about her Coco Chanel debuted on September 13, 2008. Chanel was the first start to the world of fashion. Coco Chanel brought us the little black dress, the Chanel suit and jacket, bell bottoms, and Chanel No. 5 perfume. Chanel was a very elegant woman and her fashion still lives on.
Chanel's fashion still lives on. Though her stuff is expensive I truly adore it. Above is a fashion show for the spring/summer collection of 2010. Chanel was one huge inspiration for millions.