Coco Chanel could not be missed among our iconic fashion dolls, having been an inspiration to many of us.
She led a life full of twists and turns, only to be falling and rising again in great style.
It is impossible to condense into a few lines the almost ninety years of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel’s, aka Coco. A tumultuous life, one full of love and success.
Born in 1883 into a large and very poor family counting two brothers and two sisters, Coco was soon motherless and was brought up by nuns in the orphanage of Aubazine and then Notre Dame in Moulins, both small towns in the south of France.
The turning point came in 1904 when Coco fell in love with Étienne de Balsan, the man who financed her first clothing production. She started off with a line of small and simple hats which, in total contrast to the dominant fashion, were an immediate success.
Eight years later Coco met the great love of her life, Boy Capel,, with whom she moved to Paris. It was he who financed the opening of both of her boutiques, one at 31 Rue Cambon in 1910 and the other in the seaside resort of Deauville in 1913.
The success of Coco’s business increased with the outbreak of the Great War. Her simple clothes, dominated by black and white colours, symbolised the search for a new comfort. The two-piece suit, which described and anticipated a new female condition, incarnated the values of freedom and autonomy. Two key words of which her fashion became a symbol.
This MadameDoll, inspired by Coco Chanel, wears a personal miniature reinterpretation of her famous two-piece set which is suitable for all of our iconic fashion dolls.
The strength of her ideas in the fashion world is so overwhelming that by 1918 Coco is able to pay back the full sum Boy had lent her.
Coco’s social background, her desire for independence and her will to keep on working prevents them from marrying. In October 1918 and without breaking ties with Coco, Boy marries Diana Lister Wyndham but their marriage lasts a year only. On the night of Monday 22 December 1919, Boy loses his life in a serious car accident at the age of only 38. Coco is in despair and her life changes forever.
From then on she immerses herself completely in her work, moving from one success to another. She is responsible for setting the trend of short hair for women and in 1920 she designs the costumes for “Le Sacre du printemps”, Stravinsky’s new production for the Ballets Russes in Paris. Her new lover the Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovič, cousin of Tsar Nicholas II, presents Coco with Ernest Beaux. Beaux is son to the Tsar’s perfumer ,who emigrated to France because of the Russian Revolution. From their collaboration the perfume Chanel No. 5, which hits the market in 1921, is born. In the 1930s Chanel also devoted herself to making jewellery.
Coco, a fashion legend recognised all over the world, died on Sunday 10 January 1971 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, aged 87. Among all MadameDoll’s fashion icons she is certainly the herald of elegance of simplicity.