19 August 1883, a true style icon, a legend is born. Her name, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. If she were still alive today she would probably say with absolute poise and sophistication “Just Call me Coco”. Coco Chanel needed no introduction and she definitely made sure that her empire and brand would remain exclusive and timeless, when time was no longer her own.
Honestly, I get carried away just reading her memoirs over and over again and my thoughts always end with “Wow what a woman”.
Coco Chanel was orphaned at an early age after her mom passed away, and because her father could not look after her and her siblings, she was raised by nuns who taught her the skill of sewing little knowing that it was the key to her destiny.
She climbed the ladder as a fashion designer with her trademark two-piece suits, the little black dress and Chanel No. 5 perfume.
Coco Chanel also had many love interests’ and affairs because no memoir is without a good scandal. Just like the fine detail in her designs so too did she choose her men. However, Coco did not once say those two words ‘I do’. There was the handsome Etienne Balsan that initially helped opened her first store but then she left him for Arthur Capel, an even wealthier suitor. Capel often said, “Remember that you’re a woman” but Chanel all too often forgot that. Aah! Then there was the Duke of Westminster that went on bended knee but alas Coco Chanel’s response was “Everyone marries the Duke of Westminster. There are a lot of duchesses, but only one Coco Chanel.” And lastly, Hans Gunther von Dincklage, a German military officer. Their love resulted in her having to flee to Switzerland due to the war and politics.
Coco Chanel surely received her fair share of criticism but her perseverance and not giving a fuck attitude is the very reason she became successful and a respected woman, not only in the fashion industry but also amongst the elite and in the business world.
In honour of the legendary French Designer, I have compiled some of my favourite quotes that sums up the wisdom of this woman and the life that she lived.
In order to be irreplaceable, one must be different
You live but once; you might as well be amusing.
Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.
My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.
I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.
Men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness.
Dress like you are going to meet your worst enemy today.
Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.
A woman with good shoes is never ugly.
A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.
The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.
Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!
The best things in life are free. The second-best are very expensive.
Sin can be forgiven, but stupid is forever.
A fashion that does not reach the streets is not a fashion.
A woman’s education consists of two lessons: never leave the house without stocking, never go out without a hat.
I don’t do fashion, I am fashion.
Coco Chanel has certainly influenced my character and style to an extent that I wear way too much Black and pearls, I never leave the house without a hat and I will not let anyone dictate my happiness.
The 156 Supermodel