Life, Fashion, Designs, Perfume & Facts Essay

Gabrielle Bonheur commonly referred to as Coco Channel is a fashion designer who has helped shape the fashion community using her contemporary inspiring philosophy Menswear in the hunt for costly simplicity making her an icon in the . Gabrielle is the initiator of the prosperous fashion brand Chanel. The influence she had on the fashion industry was so tremendous that; she made the only person mentioned from the industry in the Time Magazines 20th Century 100 best influential people. (Ingrid 1998)

Early history
Chanel was born in a small city called Saumur, France; On 1883 August 19. She was born to a traveling salesman Albert Chanel and her wife Jeanne Devolve in a peasant village being a . After the birth, the hospice officials who registered her birth misspelled the name of the father to Chasnel which nearly made the attempts to trace her roots impossible. The misspelling of the birth names resulted from the illiteracy of the officials who were involved in the registration process that created an issue of interest after she rose to prominence. Chanel was born to parents who had five other children, two sisters, and three brothers. At the age of 12, her mother died of Tuberculosis that later led to the departure of the father to work for money to help raise the children. As a result of lacking parents to look after the children; Chanel had to make it at the Aubazine Catholic orphanage for six years where she got the chance to learn the art of Seamstress. The young Chanel had more training in the areas of sewing at the female relative urban homes therefore greatly helped her improve her knowledge on the field of sewing. After attaining the age of eighteen she left the orphanage and went to the town of Moulins to work as a Cabaret singer due to the ambitions she had towards facing life. However here she had difficulty getting steady work as a musician therefore in her desperate state; she met a young rich French textile inheritor. Chanel later became an acknowledged mistress to Balsan but still had to maintain her tailoring job at the tailoring shop. Later Channel started designing hats as an area of interest that later developed into a major area of specialization for her. (Madsen 1991)

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After some time Chanel left Balsan and inherited his apartment in the city of Paris. In the year 1913 Chanel opened her first fashion shop that majored in selling a wide range of products that included jackets and raincoats. Unfortunately; after some time Chanel lost her shop to the city authorities but that did not discourage her from the conviction she had in continuing with the fashion business, as it formed a major area of interest for her. Not after so long Chanel met another person who helped her get back her property and gave the financial capital that she used to start a millinery shop around Brittany. Chanels hats were later used by reputable French Actresses that had a major positive influence on her familiarity. Later in the year 1913; Chanel ventured into the making of womens sports wear at the boutique business she owned in Deauville. After this period Chanels fashion wear made it into the market of the Aristocratic class that later contributed to the opening of her third shop in France that was located at Deauville. After setting up this business; Chanel got the acceptance of a majority of women for her view that women were supposed to dress for their interest and not for that of the men that were affiliated with them. (Charles 1975)

As an attempt to overcome the stigma of poverty; orphanhood; and the unworthiness associated with the poor then; Chanel started faking her background when introducing herself to others and even went to the extent of faking her age giving her year of birth as 1893 as opposed to the real birth year 1893. (Charles 1975)

Key influences in her life
The places and people that came into Chanels life and helped her take the turn of life that brought her the success she achieved include; the magazine Time 100: The most important people of the century that acknowledged her success and influence in the fashion industry. The quotation increased her levels of popularity that had a positive impact on the success of her career and also acted as motivation. The nuns and the Aubazine Monastery exposed her to the chance of learning seamstress and sewing that formed her career later. This is the case because they created a basic understanding of the sewing skills in her. The female relatives that she lived with during the vacations also greatly influenced her and her career as they helped advance the sewing skills she had learned at the Orphanage. Chanels father though indirectly influenced Chanel and the career she took because; as a result of his living for work to take care of the family; paved the way for the chance of Chanel ending up at the Orphanage where she learned the art of sewing. Etienne Balsan a young French business owner that introduced her to the fashion industry in his Blue Horizon cloth business; was a great influence on her career because the orientation she got at his business was so deep that after leaving the job she was capable of starting her own business. The Blue Horizon cloth business was also a great influence in the development of her career as it allowed her to learn the art of fashion designing extensively; which enabled her to start her own fashion design business. Arthur Edward who was a Polo player was of a great influence on the career development of Chanel. This is because he was the one that gave her the resources and capital to start her fashion shop. Further, the clothes that he wore inspired the fashion design that Chanel adopted in the sewing of suits. Other people that had major influences on the development of her career are; Alexander Leishman; Sergei Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky though their influence was not as far-reaching as that of the others discussed. (Burr 2008)

Chanels Personal Philosophy
As a fashion designer Chanel had adopted the philosophy; A fashion that does not reach the streets is not a fashion. To her, this was her driving force in the pursuit of achieving the goals that she had because she had devoted herself to the mastering of her career to achieve understated elegance. She also insisted that in the fashion-making business one should be able to attain the status of making expensive simplicity. One difference between Chanel and the ordinary fashion designer is that she devoted herself to make her products reach the clients in the streets regardless of their social status and economic prosperity. Channel however in the enforcement of her philosophy had adopted the following principles in her work; being different from any other individual who was in the same industry by doing what the others were not ready to do therefore achieving this difference. She also adopted the principle of being daring in that she would try what the other members of the industry were not confident enough to engage in. She also sought to leave a strong impression in any activity that she engaged in which is just what she did in the finance industry. Lastly, she had adopted the principle of not accepting to give up as she believed that the harder the path towards ones success; the longer and better the success would be. Chanel also believed and moved many women towards a new wave in their fashion by stating that women were not to dress for the interest of the men in their lives but themselves. This philosophy brought her so much familiarity among women and helped boost her career and business (Burr 2008)

Important milestones in Chanels career
The iconic suit that Chanel invented during World War 1 that made one hundred and one years this year. This very suit that is kept by the enterprise has preserved the artistic touch; design; and uniqueness. This very suit remains a milestone in the career of Chanel because it has the characteristics that distinguish Coco Chanel fashion design from the other designs within the fashion industry. (Martin 1995)

Another milestone in the career of Chanel is the turn-about that she brought into womens life as it created the necessity that women take the places of men who had gone to participate in the War. This as a result led to the adoption of the then working uniform of working women; which constituted of black and white colors as adopted into the formal system of the modern working woman. This effect of Chanels impact changed greatly the fashion of women that further resulted from the new view of dressing to their needs and not to the needs of men. (Charles 2005)

The Chanel foundation has moved from success to success; further investing in industries related to it but different from the fashion design like the perfume industry; which has greatly helped shape the present-day Chanel enterprise. This enterprise, therefore, remains a moving icon within the fashion and design industry. Another important milestone in the career development of Chanel was the encounter she had with Lombardi who was a major bridge of the Chanel enterprise into the making of designer wear for the then aristocratic class that greatly heightened the prosperity and fame of the Chanel enterprise. The making of the movie Coco Chanel in 2008 was another major milestone in enhancing the success that the Chanel enterprise had; further leading to a significant increase in the market of their brands. (Charles 1975)

The immense success of Channel can be attributed to the personal values that Coco Chanel upheld. Some of the world view that contributed to her success are evident in her quote; How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone. In this single quote, its possible to derive the meaning that Chanel in her career; did not fight and struggle to become a figure that has been conceived in the success stories of the society but; was ready to make a success story for and out of herself. As can be seen from her philosophy; Chanel Coco was an entrepreneur obsessed and connected to the result that was to be achieved from the . Her philosophy is market-oriented therefore shows the innate need she had to produce designs and fashions that would have an impact on the customer in the streets. (Madsen 1991)

The success story of Coco Chanel also came in as a result of the principles that she had cultivated in herself and towards business; that acted as a guide to the goals she was pursuing regardless of what she went through. One principle of Coco Chanel; was being different which meant that she would walk the long way towards the success she wanted to achieve. This can be seen from the unique fashion designs she adopted then; that had so much success, unlike the common designs that were associated with that time. Coco Chanel also believed in being daring than simply implied the willpower and capability to try what was not easy to do. This can be seen in the different times she opens a new business especially after the closure of the previous one by the authorities. Coco Chanel also had the principle of making sure that she left a strong impression in all her areas of operation. This is evident from the spirit she adopts where she seeks to do the business; until the results were applauded by the customer at the end of the production-consumption channel. Coco Chanel also never believed in giving up as can be seen from the different cases of failure and disappointment that did not keep her waiting for success down. (Ingrid 1998)

This paper is a review of the life of Coco Chanel addressing the areas of her early history; the people and places that shaped her career and this is a work used as a motivational tool in helping shape the future of current business enterprises. Also discussed are the principles and worldviews that helped realize the success of this fashion stylist as can be applied by other individuals in the pursuit of success.

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