) is a French, privately held company owned by Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer, who was an early business partner of the couturière Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. In her youth, Gabrielle Chanel gained the nickname Coco from her time as a chanteuse.
is a high fashion house that specializes in haute couture and ready-to-wear clothes, luxury goods and fashion accessories.
As a fashion designer, Coco Chanel catered to women’s taste for elegance in dress, with blouses and suits, trousers and dresses, and jewellry (gemstone and bijouterie) of simple design, that replaced the opulent, over-designed, and constrictive clothes and accessories of 19th-century fashion.
Chanel revolutionized fashion — high fashion (haute couture) and everyday fashion (prêt-à-porter) — by replacing structured-silhouettes, based upon the corset and the bodice, with garments that were functional and at the same time flattering to the woman’s figure. Chanel used colors traditionally associated with masculinity in Europe, such as grey and navy blue, to denote feminine boldness of character.
In the 1920s, the simple-line designs of Chanel couture made popular the "flat-chested" fashions that were the opposite of the hourglass-figure achieved by the fashions of the late 19th century — the Belle Époque of France (ca. The clothes of the House of Chanel featured quilted fabric and leather trimmings; the quilted construction reinforces the fabric, the design and the finish, producing a garment that maintains its form and function while being worn.
An example of such haute couture techniques is the woolen Chanel suit — a knee-length skirt and a cardigan-style jacket, trimmed and decorated with black embroidery and gold-coloured buttons.
The complementary accessories were two-tone pump shoes and jewellry, usually a necklace of pearls, and a leather handbag. A.) originated in 1909, when Gabrielle Chanel opened a millinery shop at 160 Boulevard Malesherbes, the ground floor of the Parisian flat of the socialite and textile businessman Étienne Balsan, of whom she was mistress.
Because the Balsan flat also was a salon for the French hunting and sporting élite, Chanel had opportunity to meet their demi-mondaine mistresses, who, as such, were women of fashion, upon whom the rich men displayed their wealth — as ornate clothes, jewelry, and hats.
Coco Chanel thus could sell to them the hats she designed and made; she thus earned a living, independent of her financial sponsor, the socialite Balsan.
In the course of those salons Coco Chanel befriended Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel, an English socialite and polo player friend of Étienne Balsan; per the upper class social custom, Chanel also became mistress to Boy Capel.
Despite that social circumstance, Boy Capel perceived the businesswoman innate to Coco Chanel, and, in 1910, financed her first independent millinery shop, Chanel Modes, at 31 rue Cambon, Paris.
Because that locale already housed a dress shop, the business-lease limited Chanel to selling only millinery products, not couture.