Fashion designer Coco Chanel is famous for her timeless designs, trademark suits and little black dresses. In the s, she launched her first perfume and eventually introduced the Chanel suit and the little black dress, with an emphasis on making clothes that were more comfortable for women. She herself became a much revered style icon known for her simple yet sophisticated outfits paired with great accessories, such as several strands of pearls. Her early years were anything but glamorous. Her nickname came from another occupation entirely.
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Coco Chanel may not have been a Paris native in fact, she hailed from Saumur, France , but her name has forever been connected to Paris. Just before the roaring s, she took up fashionable residence at Rue Cambon. Next year, the address will celebrate years of Chanel history, given the fact that Chanel installed her couture house in the building in Today, the couture offices are still in the very same place. By , there were five Chanel buildings alone on Rue Cambon—making it an essential destination for any Chanel fan.
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While she remains one of the most formative couturiers of the century — her fashion empire lives on in her namesake brand — her life was just as controversial as it was stylish. Raised in a French orphanage before moving to Paris in , Chanel soon became synonymous with a new style of dressing that did away with corsets and excessive layers of trimmings and tulles, instead embracing a more androgynous shape — a trend which has truly stood the test of time. Already a well-known fashion designer by the time the Second World World broke out, Chanel spent much of the war ensconced in the luxurious Hotel Ritz — a privilege permitted to few non-Germans — with her German officer lover, Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage. He says she worked as a spy for German military intelligence during the occupation.
Chanel, one of the most distinctive brands in fashion today, owes everything to the woman who gave it her name. Coco Chanel, tall, skinny, and impeccably dressed in her trademark suit, was as enigmatic as she was energetic. Her rise from rags to riches was fueled by her creative genius, while her personal life was characterized by her high-profile relationships and seductive power over influential men.