History of Chanel

  1. Not sure if this has been posted already but I would like to share anyway. I enjoyed reading this very much!

    "The House of Chanel, more commonly known as Chanel, is a Parisian fashion house in France founded by Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel. According to Forbes, the privately held House of Chanel is jointly owned by Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer who are the grandsons of the early Chanel partner Pierre Wertheimer. [1]

    History of Tradition

    Founded in 1910, the small shop selling ladies headwear had moved to the upmarket Rue Cambon within a year. The house became especially famous with the elegant little black dress and its signature Chanel No. 5 fragrance - so called because she was given a set of five samples by the perfumeur Ernest Beaux. She had instructed him to create a fragarance that should be "All about scent and nothing about the bottle." Out of the five scents samples, she preferred No. 5. "It will bring me luck," she declared. Ernext Beaux also created four other perfumes for Chanel; the are the little known Bois d'Illes, No. 22, Cuir de Russie, and Gardenie. However, Gardenie has recently been re-released by the House in 2005 with international acclaim, a scent that fuses jasmine with musks.
    Chanel revolutionized haute couture fashion by replacing the traditional corset with the comfort and casual elegance of simple suits and dresses. She introduced to the world her signature cardigan jacket in 1925 and signature “little black dress” in 1926, introducing a more sultry and seductive definition to “sexy.” She had numerous other major successes that changed the fashion industry including the ever popular "'Chanel suit'", an elegant creation composed of a knee-length skirt and trim, boxy jacket, traditionally made of wooven wool with black sewing trim and gold buttons, worn with large costume-pearl necklaces. Elite women of high socities around the world began to flock to the now legendary Rue Cambon boutique to commission couture outfits from her. The House of Chanel became an icon of elegance and from then on, the name “Chanel” became synonymous to elegance, wealth, and elitism, as well as the ultimate sign of French high class, la coquettrie.
    After Chanel No. 5 was launched in 1921, Coco Chanel's fashions became even more well-known and were purchased by the high flyers of London and Paris society alike. Chanel took to living at the Ritz Paris, and her suite of residence has become famous and is now named the "Coco Chanel Suite."
    Chanel is also known for its quilted fabric which also has a "secret" quilting pattern sewn at the back to keep the material strong. This material is used for clothing and accessories alike. During the early 1970s London socialite millionairess Diane Boulting-Casserley Vandelli was ambassador to the brand, making it ever more popular amongst the European jet-set and upper classes. The brand is now headed by German-born designer Karl Lagerfeld, who had previously designed for the House of Fendi, where his most memorable achievement was the creation of the signature "FF" logo print (referred to as Zucca) commonly used on handbags..."

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    "...The Coco Chanel Era
    Coco Chanel, founder of the House of Chanel, began her fashion career in 1910. She heralded new designs and revolutionized the fashion industry by going “back to basics,” incorporating elegance, class, and originality. Under her tight reign from 1910-1971, Coco Chanel held the title as ‘Chief Designer’ until her death on January 10, 1971.


    In 1910, Chanel opens a shop, under the name of ‘Chanel Modes’ at 21 rue Cambon in Paris, to create hats. Her hats were worn by famous French actresses which helped establish her reputation. Chanel introduced in 1913 women’s sportswear at her new boutique in Deauville, France. Her line of jersey clothes changed not only women’s relationships with their bodies, but also with their way of life, or the French savoir vivre. It became an immediate success.
    Her fashion became known in 1915 throughout France that prioritized freedom of movement by passing ostentatious and useless things in her designs. She affirmed the House’s style of authentic and naturally seductive with fluid and comfortable lines. She then opened her first couture house in Biarritz, France to introduce her other fashion lines.
    1921 saw the introduction of the first Chanel perfume, No. 5. It was greeted internationally by high society ladies as their choice when going out during the night. “La Société des Parfums Chanel’’ was founded in 1924 to produce and sell perfumes and beauty products, after the critically acclaimed No. 5, a perfume that commands the highest sales in history.
    1924 also greeted the first Chanel costume jewelry collection that Harper’s Bazzar greeted as “one of the most revolutionary designs of our time.”
    In 1928, Chanel introduced the ‘little black dress,’ greeted by Vogue as the ‘new uniform of the modern woman.’ That same year, Chanel introduced the classic tweed. Inspired by visits to Scotland with the Duke of Westminster, Chanel was inspired and created her first tweed suits.
    Chanel premiered a fabulous exhibition of fine jewelry in 1932 dedicated to the diamond, featuring designs which became the talk of the town for their simplicity and originality. Several of the pieces, including the ‘Comet’ and ‘Fountain’ necklaces were re-introduced by Chanel in 1993.


    Chanel reached the peak of her fame in 1935 when she employed 4,000 workers and owned numerous buildings throughout France. In 1939, she retired from fashion design and closed her popular couture house, prompting protests from New York high society to the Parisian aristocracy. Only her perfumes and accessories were sold at Chanel’s boutiques.
    Coming out of fashion retirement at the age of 71, Chanel re-opened the couture house. Her first show received international acclaim, with her signature jersey suit being introduced that bore her favorite number: 5. In 1955, Chanel introduced the quilted bag with the shoulder strap, a bag that shook the fashion world. It became so popular the first year, she had to decline numerous requests due to the lack of time to painstakingly manufacture each one by her skilled artisans. That same year, Chanel launched her first eau de toilette for men, Pour Monsieur.
    In 1957 at the Fashion Awards in Dallas, Chanel and her Spring collection received the Fashion Oscar. The fashion world applauded her as the ‘most influential designer of the twentieth century.’
    After dozens of other internationally acclaimed collections, Chanel introduced in 1970 a new perfume by the name of No. 19, after her birthday date. On January 10, 1971, Coco Chanel died, ending an era of revolutionary fashion that would still be the classic model fashion designers today find inspiration in. Her posthumous Spring collection enjoyed considerable success.
    However, her influence did not pass with her death. Other posthumous projects came to light a few years. In 1974, the House of Chanel launched Cristalle eau de toilette, which was in the workings when Coco Chanel was alive. 1978 saw the launch of the first non-couture, prêt-à-porter line and worldwide distribution of accessories. In 1981, Chanel launched a new eau de toilette for men, Antaeus.

    The Karl Lagerfeld Era

    Karl Lagerfeld would become one of the most iconic designers of our time. With his flashy sense of style combined with a strong vision of a new Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld brought the couture house to new levels, and is still continuing to woo and awe the fashion world.


    1983 was the year of change for the House of Chanel. It was the year Karl Lagerfeld was appointed ‘Artistic Director’ for Chanel Fashion, including haute couture, prêt-à-porter, and accessories. He shocked the fashion world by changing Chanel’s fashion lines from the predictable same styles that greeted world year after year to funky cuts and eye capturing designs.
    In 1984, the House of Chanel launched the fragarance, Coco, in honor of the late Coco Chanel. The scent was based upon a private fragarance Chanel had commissioned from her perfumers that she wore exclusively daily. In 1986, the House of Chanel struck a deal with watchmakers and in 1987, the first Chanel watches made its debut.
    1990 saw the launched of Egoïste for men. Karl Lagerfeld in 1993 launched the first collection of fine jewelry (not to be confused with the already existing costume jewelry line), in the spirit and style of Chanel, in the heart of Place Vendôme in Paris.
    1996 greeted the launch of Allure fragrance and due to its immense popularity, a men’s version, Allure Homme was launched in 1998.
    Under special commission from Karl Lagerfeld, the House of Chanel launched its first skin care line, PRÉCISION in 1999. That same year, Chanel launched a new travel collection, and under a license contract with Luxottica, introduced a line of sunglasses and eyeglass frames...."

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    "...The new millennium saw the launch of the first unisex watch for Chanel, the J12, a style that has reached iconic fame with its clean cuts and fusion of masculinity and femininity to form a revolutionary watch. To please the younger fashionistas, Chanel introduced Coco Mademoiselle and an ‘In-Between Wear’ in 2001.
    2002 saw the launch of Chance fragrance, with a scent of surprise and glamour. The House of Chanel founded the Paraffection company that gathered the five Ateliers d’Art: Desrues for ornamentation, Lemarié for feathers, Lesage for embroiderer, Massaro for shoemaker, and Michel for millinr. A prêt-à-porter collection proposing their know-how was designed by Karl Lagerfeld. It is now traditionally presented each December.
    2003 saw such an immense popularity of Chanel haute couture that the company founded a second atelier on rue Cambon.
    The No. 5 perfume had always received free campaigns from actresses and starlets that used it daily. Marilyn Monroe famously answered a reporter’s question that she only wore Chanel No. 5 to bed. But in 2004, Karl Lagerfeld launched a new No. 5 campaign with Nicole Kidman as the new face of Chanel. With the launch of new handbags, Ligne Cambon, an advertising campaign was created featuring French actress and pop star, Vanessa Paradis.


    The Luxury Line, introduced in 2006 feauturing a metal chain embedded in the leather, is one of the most desired "it" bags of the moment.
    The House of Chanel, under the leadership of Karl Lagerfeld, has defined the style and fashion of Chanel as being the five essentials: audacious, perfectionist, unique, passionate, and visionary.

    The Iconic Logo

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The House of Chanel logo

    The Chanel logo is an overlapping double 'C' - one facing forward and the other facing backward. This comes from the name Coco Chanel."Coco" is the nickname frequently used by Chanel founder, Gabrielle Chanel. The logo was not trademarked until during the first openings of Chanel stores. Chanel is currently trying to deal with their logo being illegally used on cheaper goods, especially on fake handbags. Countries said to be producing great numbers of fake Chanel handbags are Vietnam, Thailand and China. An authentic Chanel handbag retails for around $1500, while fakes usually cost around $60, creating a demand for the signature style at a cheaper price.

    International Quality

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    A Chanel shop in Prince's Building, Central, Hong Kong.

    While most famous for its handbags and fragrances, Chanel also produces shoes, scarves, wallets, and clothing, as well as other accessories. The classic Chanel suit, most often tweed, easily costs thousands of dollars. Classic bags are usually made of lambskin, which is a soft, delicate material, or caviar leather, which has a more durable pebbled surface. The high prices, however, are worth what a Chanel buyer receives. High quality, superb workmanship, and detailed designs have made Chanel internationally recognized as a leading couture house of the world.

    Truths & Controversies

    During the early 20th century Chanel was especially known for its quality and innovation. Legend has it that once, when feeling cold, Coco Chanel placed a man's sailor jumper around her neck. Later, when women told her how wonderful she looked in her new woolen shawl, Coco Chanel realized she had started a trend. After Chanel became a high fashion trademark, many brands mimicked her designs; the only difference between the two items is often the higher quality of the Chanel brand.
    Much to the dismay of many, Chanel is known to burn its leftover stock. The brand does not want their merchandise to be sold cheaply (as it would damage their reputation), nor does it wish the merchandise to be given away, for the reasons of exclusivity and quality control. There are a few exceptions to this (such as the Chanel sample sales at the end of a season). Chanel goods are sold for less at these sales only if they did not sell in the last.
    During World War II, Coco Chanel's relationship with Hans Gunther von Dincklage created controversy. Dincklage was a Nazi officer and was rumored to be Chanel's lover during the occupation of France.
    In 2006, Chanel was fined for price fixing together with other perfume brands."

    (Chanel: Information From Answers.com)
  4. Thanks for sharing... Getting ready to print it out and continue reading.
  5. thanks so much for that history! I'm very new to Chanel so that's very helpful and interesting!
  6. Love this!! Thanks so much!
  7. "Much to the dismay of many, Chanel is known to burn its leftover stock."

    I think my heart skipped a beat ! I'd like to be at that bonfire ( W/ a hose and a truck to haul it all away ) !

  8. :roflmfao: :roflmfao: :roflmfao: I felt the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. Oh my word, a Chanel bonfire, heartbreaking!
  10. i am doing a project on her right now!! thank you SOOOO MUCH for the post!!
  11. Great piece of info for a Chanel newbie like me.........Thanks lots!!
  12. awesome info, thanks for sharing!
  13. Thanks for sharing!
  14. what a long article...i will read it at home with more time! lol thanks for the info.
  15. Fabulous article, thanks for sharing!