“To be the ultimate House of Luxury, defining style and desire, now and forever.” The Chanel Company mission statement.
The brand of Chanel is one of the worlds most valuable retail brands and after more than 40 years it’s still at the top of its game. Founded by Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, the brand epitomises elegance and sophistication whilst also being known for breaking ground within the fashion industry and creating a new wave of fashion and trends.
Chanel was born in 1883 in France, it has been documented that at a young age Chanel gained her interest in textiles whilst living at the Catholic Monastery of Auzabine after the death of her mother, it is here that she learnt how to sew. At the age of 18, Chanel began work at a tailors where she learned her craft and love of fashion designing and textiles. It wasn’t until the age of 23 that she really began to build a career in the industry, whilst living as a mistress in a château with wealthy textile heir Etienne Balsan, Chanel started designing and crafting hats. With the help of two influential acquaintances Balsan and Arthur Capel, Chanel was able to place her feet firmly on the retail ladder by opening her first shop in Paris in 1910, followed quickly by two small boutiques in Deauville and Biarritz. The name Coco was derived from the nickname given to her by soldiers who came to watch her sing when she was earning extra money in Paris bars.
Chanel’s popularity and empire grew and grew through the 1920’s with the introduction of jersey knit fabrics, staple garments such as the tweed cardigan jacket and the little black dress and the box hat, items that became the signature look of Chanel. Hollywood starlets such as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly soon became fans of the brand.
The brand of Chanel changed how women and men dressed, the classic sophisticated look of straight lines, luxury pearl necklaces and silky blouses replaced the structured and restricted designs of 19th Century fashion such as corsets and bustiers.
Chanel stores can now be found around the globe and all follow the signature look of fierce black lines and clean whites.
31 Rue Cambon, Paris
31, Rue Cambon is Chanel’s main store in Paris, Coco purchased the Eighteenth century building in 1910 and was where she lived up until her death in 1971, Coco used this place to entertain and where she kept her clothes. She did not sleep at the apartment, her sleeping quarters were at the lavish Ritz Hotel further down the road. The Eighteenth century building consists of four floors, the main store sits at ground level whilst the changing rooms are on the second floor, Coco’s apartment was on the third level and the workshop was on the fourth.