Happy Birthday Coco Chanel

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, born August 19, 1883, remains one of the most influential couturiers in women’s fashion.   Perhaps the loss of her mother and abandonment by her father drove her to make the most of her life.

Coco’s nickname was established when she was a cabaret singer. It was also there that she met the first of her wealthy lovers. Her background would never have allowed them to marry her but their influence and funding were invaluable in helping her succeed.  Coco loved comfortable clothes that accommodated her active life.   She often raided her boyfriend’s closet and adapted his clothes to a style of her own providing the comfortable attire she loved. Her first venture was a hat shop in Paris financed by her wealthy boyfriend at the time.

The First World War brought occupation of Paris so Coco followed the multitude of wealthy Parisians who escaped to the north of France. There she began creating more casual clothes and clients loved them.

The war contributed greatly to women accepting the more casual and comfortable designs Coco made. Men had to go to war and women began going to work in the factories. Certainly factory work could not be done in the styles of the day. Chanel’s more casual, comfortable designs were ideal for the working girl. By the end of the war, they were widely accepted throughout the fashion world and Chanel was on her way.

Her areas of influence in fashion are too numerous to mention but an article I recently read, chose five of her favorite quotes that I thought an appropriate tribute to this fashion trailblazer.

  1. Always wear lipstick! Preferable red. “If you’re sad, if you’re disappointed in love, put on your makeup, give yourself some beauty care, put on lipstick, and attack.”
  2. Have a Signature Scent!A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” Coco believed that everyone needed a signature scent to make a lasting impression.   Chanel No. 5 was launched in 1921 and reportedly sells a bottle every 30 seconds. She may have been right!
  3. Embrace Your Individuality. Chanel followed this rule personally by pioneering the concept that if a woman looks comfortable , she will feel comfortable. She can be herself. Chanel stated it this way: “In order to be irreplaceable, you must be different.”
  4. Choose the right shade. Color is one of the most important aspects in showing you off at your best. Whether choosing the color for your dress or the perfect shade for your make-up Chanel’s philosophy was, “The best color in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.”
  5. Aging Gracefully. “At 20, your face has been given to you by nature; at 30, your face has been fashioned for life; but at 50, it is up to you to deserve it.” Embrace the changes that occur as you age. Take care of your skin and enjoy the beauty of a more mature you.


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