Coco Chanel


Coco Chanel Famous memorial

Original Name Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel
Saumur, Departement de Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire, France
Death 10 Jan 1971 (aged 87)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Lausanne, District de Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
Plot Section 9 - Concession 130
Memorial ID 7264027 View Source

Entrepreneur. Coco Chanel received international acclaim as a leading fashion designer starting during the post-World War I years, and enduring for a career of almost six decades. Her elegantly casual designs had women abandoning the constricting layers of clothing of the late 19th century. Her never-aging, yet sophisticated, designs included the Chanel suit with a collarless jacket and a well-fitted skirt, the quilted purse, costume jewelry, the long strain of pearls, and the "little black dress." She made the color black, which was long associated with mourning, a chic fashion color, fit for evening wear. In 1921, her perfume Chanel No. 5 was introduced. Her life story is a "rags to riches" saga. Born Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel, a French peasant, she was placed in an orphanage at age 12 after both her parents' deaths. The nuns in the orphanage taught her how to sew. At a young age, her gift of fashion and a keen awareness of social trends was recognized. After leaving the orphanage, she became a singer, where she received "Coco" as a name, and then a shopgirl before opening a tiny millinery shop in 1910, after receiving financial assistance from a wealthy friend, Arthur Capel. Within five years, her business had three stores and was a success, selling not only hats but simple sportswear, such as jersey sweaters, to wealthy patrons. She designed costumes for Ballets Russes, Jean Cocteau's play "Orphée," and other prominent names in the world of the arts. Redefining women's fashion, her business goal was "luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury." After in business for fifteen years, her fashion empire was reportedly worth millions of dollars and employed more than 2,000 workers in her fashion house, a textile mill, a jewelry workshop, and dozens of Europe's most-talented perfume creators. As a keen business woman, she partnered with the upscaled Galeries Lafayette department stores and Bourjois Cosmetic Company, owned by businessmen Pierre and Paul Wertheimer, to market her products. The world's economic depression of the early 1930s did impact her business, but her business, though suffering, stayed open. During World War II and the invasion of the Nazi Forces in France, she closed her fashion house in 1939 and went into self-exile in Switzerland. After being seen socially with a Nazi officer, her reputation was stressed, but she opened her business again in 1954. Some of her most famous creations were worn by United States First Lady, Jackie Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco, to name a few. She never married but had decade-long relationships with men. Embracing her zodiac symbol of Leo, the Lion, she used the lion as her personal symbol on her products. Buried in Lausanne Switzerland, her headstone is surmounted by five stone lions. In the 21st century, the Chanel legacy is held privately by the Wertheimer family and continues to thrive. For decades after her death, her life has been the subject of books, films, television shows, and other forms of media. She was the only fashion designer on "Time" magazine's list of "100 Persons of the Century."

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Greg Brown
  • Added: 15 Mar 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7264027
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Coco Chanel (19 Aug 1883–10 Jan 1971), Find a Grave Memorial ID 7264027, citing Cimetière du Bois-de-Vaux, Lausanne, District de Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland ; Maintained by Find a Grave .