The Simply Luxurious Life®: Coco Chanel – Happy Birthday  

August 18, 2011

Coco Chanel – Happy Birthday

The ever inspiring Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was born on this date (August 19th) in 1883 which would make her 128. It is amazing to me how she continues to resonate. While she continues to pop up in the news (just this week in fact), the truth about who she was, exactly how old she was and what she did during and around World War II continues to grab the attention of the public – in the fashion world and beyond. Whether or not the claims in the book written by Hal Vaughan are true (and I must say I want to read his book which is precisely why he wrote it – for the controversy it would cause, followed by interest to buy the book), what is clear to me about Coco Chanel is that she was a survivor – plain and simple – since the time she was an orphan until she resurrected the House of Chanel in her 70’s.

While I’ve only read one biography about her life, it seems to me she had an unquenchable inner strength to create a life that seemed impossible to others but that she resolutely believed she deserved to achieve as long as she didn’t cower. And cower she never did. Between always remaining a mystery, daring to dress the needs of women that were gaining more independence and freedom and proceeding to live life on her terms, she succeeded in inspiring generations that hadn’t even been born yet. That is a legacy to be proud of. That is a legacy that can withstand criticism because as I see it, critics are talented with their words, but those who can withstand said criticism resonate much louder. Happy birthday Coco.

“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.” – Coco Chanel

To learn a bit more about Coco’s style - Rules of StyleGabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel


At August 18, 2011 at 8:42 PM , Blogger Prêt à Porter P said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At August 18, 2011 at 8:47 PM , Blogger Prêt à Porter P said...

Her affiliation with Nazis has always seemed like an open secret. So I don't get the big SHOCK of this book. On top of that, I never thought of her as a "self-made" woman. Again it is no secret that she was financed by her suitors. Besides I think Chanel is mainstream because of Karl Lagerfeld. Yes Gabrielle Chanel made the name and came up with some of the initial ideas, but it is under Karl Lagerfeld's direction that has built the "maison" to be what it is today. "Coco" is more of a caricature to reinforce the "heritage" (age) of the brand.

At August 19, 2011 at 2:33 AM , Blogger Plami said...

Happy Birthday to one of the greatest designers! What's clear to me is that her believes and what she did in her personal life does not change the fact that she was talented and revolutionized fashion! :)


At August 19, 2011 at 6:11 AM , Anonymous Claudine said...

I so totally agree with your post ! Everybody knows Chanel slept her way to the top, but that doesn't take away her incredible talent or what she did for women fashionwise. Haven't we got more immediate political and economical problems to deal with ? Let's just consider the legacy and let fashion be fashion and while we're at it, not crucify John Galliano as a designer for the sake of some shocking, stupid, drunken atrocities he might have proffered.
By the way, love your blog, which I came across through Llian Harlow.

At August 19, 2011 at 7:05 AM , Blogger Lucija said...

Oh, such a beautiful post. Love your writing! And happy birthday, Coco!



At August 19, 2011 at 7:09 AM , Anonymous hopflower said...

It is no secret that Coco Chanel had a German lover during the war. While it was rather in bad taste (as the rest of her countrymen suffered), she was a survivor and this does not mean that she was a "Nazi Spy" in any sense of the word. What were the Germans going to tell a French milliner and fashion designer; and about what? Coco lived off of men to enable her own talent for years. It is called knowing what side your bread is buttered on.

I have said for several years: anyone can publish a book nowadays.

At August 19, 2011 at 7:10 AM , Blogger The Simply Luxurious Life said...

Pret a Porter P - I understand why it might seem that she wasn't self-made because of the support from suitors, but what we must keep in mind is that the time in history was a far cry from the freedoms women have now. Had Chanel gone about her business the same way in the 21st century she would not be applauded - absolutely not, but she figured out a way in the world she lived in to make it happen. Would I do the same thing - probably not, but she had ingenuity and she made it work to her advantage where other women (most women during that time) would have received nothing out of the same situation or wouldn't even have entered into such a risky situation.

At August 19, 2011 at 7:11 AM , Blogger The Simply Luxurious Life said...

hopflower - I concur completely on all points. Thanks for sharing.

At August 19, 2011 at 3:46 PM , Blogger Prêt à Porter P said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At August 20, 2011 at 10:22 AM , Anonymous Jeanne Holbrook said...

Wow! Coco always stirred the pot in social circles. So I see nothing has changed.She is one of the first woman to bring forth the idea of freedom and strength and independence for women, regardless of social class. She was instrumental in freeing women from the restrictive fashions of the day. She hated her dependence on men for her success. If she used men, she used them less than men of the day used women. Coco was attempting to make women "people" rather than dolls of fashion.
Regarding her talent she is the most influential designer in the modern age. Skirts above the ankles, simple dresses, not covered in lace, striped "sailor" tee shirts or sweaters, metal trim (chains, Military buttons) on jackets, menswear, shoulder straps on handbags, chains on handbags, hats that didn't look like a bird built a nest on your head . She was the first to show the true shape of the female body, saddle details in the handbags,The balance of masculine / feminine details,ie a flower on a simple jacket. She was the first to use simple fabrics that had never been used in clothing before . Her jackets had more to do with menswear than the feminine suits of her day.
the list of firsts is huge:
the little black dress, military /sailor details, metal clothing details, menswear, stripe tees, spectator shoes, FLAT ballet shoes, pearls as a statement, chains as a statement, fake flowers, leather quilting, showing the female form etc etc etc etc

Go into forever 21 and you see her influence everywhere. So her influence extends over decades and across all quality levels of fashion.

oh and lets not forget Chanel no.5

Dior would never have been able to do, what he did , if Chanel had not broken through so many taboos.

Karl , bless him , is also a great talent. I love the things he has done with her icons...but his runway models have more to do with fashion dolls, than strong independent women. It is more difficult to create fashion, strength and simplicity. I think It is more difficult to be the FIRST in almost everything you create. Coco Chanel was the first.

At August 20, 2011 at 10:37 AM , Blogger The Simply Luxurious Life said...

Jeanne Holbrook - loved reading your comments. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. :)

At August 22, 2011 at 12:33 AM , Anonymous classiq said...

Wonderful post! Coco Chanel changed the world of fashion for good and she made style synonym with fashion, which very few designers have succeeded.


Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by The Simply Luxurious Life. Please take this opportunity to share a comment that is either positive, constructive or contributes and elevates the conversation. The Simply Luxurious Life reserves the right to restrict comments that are mean-spirited, contain profanity or personal attacks, or intend merely to promote a personal or unrelated business. All comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by TSLL. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home