Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel

Picture of Gabrielle Coco Chanel

Who: Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, an iconic French fashion designer and businesswoman who shaped the 20th-century woman

Why She Dazzles: The modern women’s suit is inspired by her original designs. Anna Wintour lives in Chanel jackets. The intertwined “Cs” symbol is as recognizable as Nike’s Swoosh or Apple’s half-bitten fruit. Carrie Bradshaw and all of us want to wear her label —from New York City to Marrakech to St. Louis—more than 50 years after she launched her iconic brand when she was one of the first businesswomen in Paris fashion.

Why You Need to Know Her Today: Yes, she made famous the LBD but she also designed androgynous clothes for women who wanted to wear pants, be active, and feel free.

What She Would Say Today—Because She Said It Then: “You can be gorgeous at 30, charming at 40, and irresistible for the rest of your life.” YES. YES. YES.

Picture of a multi-strand pearl necklace by Chanel
“A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.”—Coco

What She Would Wear to a Cocktail Party Tonight: Her own label (duh), now beautifully designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Fun fact: Coco popularized costume jewelry when she wore strands of her own pearl necklaces layered around her neck.

Picture of a card that features a girl on a perfume bottle
“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”—Coco

What She Would Send to Her Friend: Coco hosted parties in her salon that glistened in decadence and grandeur, and reflected her elegant taste. Le sigh. So of course she would send you a card that glitters and resembles a classy woman on her namesake perfume bottle.

Picture of a luxurious meal at Hôtel Barrière Le Normandy in France
Hôtel Barrière Le Normandy is a grand hotel near the sea in Deauville, France.

Where She Would Instagram: A seaside resort town in France. Although Coco never married, her longtime companion Arthur “Boy” Capel gave her the necessary funds to start her first hat shop in Paris, and later another one in the tony seaside town of Deauville. In her early years as a designer, she often appeared at the local yacht clubs or racecourses in her new designs, typically in casual jersey trousers or short pleated skirts amongst European aristocrats wearing corsets. Ooo-la-la.

Tweet This: #DYK Gabrielle Chanel’s “Coco” nickname came from her early life as a stage singer #anewlady

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