Since its inception, Chanel has been at the forefront of luxury fashion. Its timeless designs have earned it a name as one of the oldest and most prestigious haute couture brands in the world. The first official boutique opened over a century ago, yet its place in the hearts of style-conscious individuals has never waned. Here are 6 fun facts about Chanel.

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Chanel the entrepreneur

1. An iconic female fashion entrepreneur

Unlike many of its contemporaries, the fashion powerhouse known as Chanel was founded by a woman, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel — more commonly referred to as Coco. Coco Chanel founded the iconic French fashion house in 1909. Some of her contemporaries such as Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi were all created by men.

2. The road to success began with hats for Coco Chanel

At the outset of her career, Gabrielle Chanel contemplated becoming a professional entertainer in Vichy. Yet it soon became evident that she was better suited for other things. Thus, in 1910 she opened a milliner’s studio at 21 Rue Cambon in Paris and three years later opened a boutique in Deauville stocked with hats and an array of garments made mainly from jersey. Her accomplishments attained new heights when in 1915 she launched her Maison de Couture situated opposite the Casino in Biarritz’s Villa Larralde.

3. The little black dress

Often overlooked is the fact that Coco Chanel is attributed to pioneering the ‘Little Black Dress’ trend. At the start of the twentieth century, wearing black was considered inappropriate for any occasion other than mourning; yet Chanel managed to alter this perspective effectively. She famously proclaimed: “I imposed black; it’s still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around.” To this day, a little black dress remains a staple in every women’s wardrobe due to its ability to render them powerful and influential while exuding understated elegance.

Chanel's little black dress

4. The longest-standing haute couture house

For over a century, the House of Chanel has been at the forefront of haute couture. Since its opening at 31 Rue Cambon back in 1918, the House of Chanel has remained the oldest active couture house. The team at the iconic address 31 Rue Cambon remains as devoted to Haute Couture today as it did when Coco Chanel was alive (1883 – 1971). Here, her renowned ateliers remain housed within the historic building’s upper floors.

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Chanel History
Chanel History 2

5. A suit for women

The classic tweed suit will forever remain a timeless Chanel garment, ushering in a new era of apparel for women. Coco Chanel changed how society perceived women’s fashion by pioneering comfortable clothing options like trousers. Unlike traditional mini skirts that were popular at the time, Chanel embraced this piece as a symbol of female emancipation and freedom.

Karl Lagerfeld
Chanel & Karl

6. Karl Lagerfeld ushered in a new era.

The renowned Karl Lagerfeld took the helm of Chanel back in 1983, with a mission to incorporate its famous CC logo into more designs. He also set out to breathe new life into its ready-to-wear collections, ultimately transforming it from an ailing brand. Karl’s commitment to the Chanel label remained strong until his passing in 2019.

Coco Chanel was the originator of many revolutionary ideas about female fashion and how women should adorn themselves. Her legacy was kept alive by her successor, Karl Lagerfeld, whose innovative take on design brought respectability and style back to the storied brand. To this day, Chanel continues to keep Coco’s memory alive through their modern takes on her beloved designs that are both chic as well as comfortable for the women of today.

ALSO SEE: All the reasons why we love Coco Chanel

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