There’s nothing quite like the feeling of holding a little Chanel in your hand. There’s something magical, timeless and exquisite about it, almost as if you can feel the weight of the brand’s legacy in each piece.
Originality, boldness and persistence were three qualities that rooted the Chanel brand, and the same are true in what we see in the collections today. Gabrielle Chanel, its founder, pursued elegance and excellence, creating the formula for the feminine eternal.
With humble beginnings, Gabrielle Chanel shattered the female stereotype of her era. She had a penchant for sewing and creating beautiful garments, as well as singing. Her frequent rendition of “Qui qu’a vu Coco?” or, “Who has seen Coco?” as a café entertainer gave her the famous moniker and established her as Mademoiselle Coco Chanel.
The early days
Starting out as a milliner, selling hats from her Paris boutique, Coco revolutionised the female attire, throwing off heavy fabrics and corsetry in favour of shortened hemlines, freed waistlines and simple, light headwear. Mademoiselle was the queen of Paris, taking up residence in the Ritz, creating the Chanel suit and inspiring the little black dress that remains a staple of every woman’s wardrobe today.
Of course, it wasn’t just clothing that made Chanel the iconic brand we know and love today. Coco stated that a woman’s scent was as important as her dress, and the allure of No. 5 in 1921 sent ripples of enchantment through the whole world. An icon of the 20th century, No. 5 is the best selling perfume in the world, with Marilyn Monroe commenting that the only thing she wore to bed was, “Just a few drops of No. 5”.
Through the decades since, Chanel has become the epitome of chic, famously gracing the media at every turn. Arguably one of Chanel’s most famous media moments came when fashion icon Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wore a pink Chanel suit on the day that her husband, John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
The faces of Chanel
So many famous faces have modelled for Chanel. Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista and, more recently, Cara Delevingne have all shouldered the Chanel mantle. And Brad Pitt famously became the first male face of Chanel No. 5, with Pharrell Williams recently becoming the first male face for a handbag campaign.
With their signature style flowing through the ‘Cruise’ 2017/18 collection, Chanel’s elegance and originality is as prevalent as it ever was. Effortless style, grace and femininity radiate through the designs. It’s clear that chief designer Karl Lagerfeld stays true to Mademoiselle’s vision, incorporating signature Chanel fabrics and detailing such as tweed, gold accents and chains, whilst keeping the brand bang up to date.
Having significantly evolved from the humble beginnings in millinery, Chanel now creates the most luxurious handbags, shoes, costume jewellery, scarves and other gorgeous accessories. Their pieces have become exclusive and much sought after, gaining a following of the rich and fabulous.
The Chanel legacy is undoubtedly one of fashion’s shining stars, with the interlocking Cs logo instantly recognisable the world over. Chanel will always be a bastion of elegance, standing for independence, freedom and evolution and inspiring women to march to their own beat.