The Life and Legacy of Coco Chanel - Maves Apparel

The Life and Legacy of Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel is a name that needs no introduction. She is an iconic figure in the fashion industry and her contributions to fashion are immeasurable. Her life and legacy are a true testament to her passion and determination. In this article, we will delve into the life of Coco Chanel and explore her legacy.

Early Life

Coco Chanel was born in Saumur, France in 1883. Her parents were unmarried, and her mother worked as a laundrywoman. Chanel's father was an itinerant street vendor, who sold undergarments and clothing. When Chanel was 12 years old, her mother died of tuberculosis, leaving her in the care of her father. Her father abandoned her and her siblings at a convent where they lived for six years.

Rise to Fame

In 1901, Chanel began working as a seamstress in a tailor's shop in Moulins. She later moved to Paris, where she worked in a hat shop. It was during this time that she began designing hats herself. In 1910, she opened her own shop selling hats under the name "Chanel Modes". Her hats were a hit and her designs gained popularity among the wealthy.

In 1913, Chanel opened her first boutique, selling women's sportswear. Her designs were revolutionary, breaking away from the restrictive corsets and frills that were popular at the time. She created clothes that were comfortable, practical, and stylish. She introduced the world to the "little black dress" and popularized the use of jersey fabric in women's clothing.

During World War I, Chanel closed her boutiques and moved to Biarritz. She had a romantic relationship with a wealthy Englishman, Arthur "Boy" Capel. He financed her return to Paris, where she reopened her boutique and expanded her business to include perfume and accessories.


Chanel's legacy is one that continues to influence the fashion industry today. She believed in simplicity and comfort, and her designs reflected that. She created timeless pieces that are still popular today, such as the Chanel suit and the Chanel bag. The little black dress is a staple in every woman's wardrobe and has become a symbol of Chanel's legacy.

Chanel's success paved the way for women in the fashion industry. She was a self-made woman who built her empire through hard work and determination. Her influence can be seen in the work of designers who have followed in her footsteps, such as Karl Lagerfeld who took over as creative director of Chanel after her death.


Chanel's legacy is not without controversy. During World War II, Chanel was accused of collaborating with the Nazis. She had a romantic relationship with a German officer, Hans Günther von Dincklage, and used her connections to further her business interests. She was also accused of being anti-Semitic.

Chanel's involvement with the Nazis tarnished her reputation, but she was never charged with any crimes. She fled to Switzerland during the war but returned to Paris in 1954 to rebuild her business.


Coco Chanel was a true visionary who revolutionized the fashion industry. Her designs continue to influence fashion today, and her legacy is a testament to her determination and hard work. Despite the controversies that surround her, she remains an iconic figure in the fashion world.


  1. Did Coco Chanel ever get married or have children? No, Coco Chanel never got married or had children. She believed that marriage and motherhood would hinder her career and personal freedom.

  2. What inspired Coco Chanel's fashion designs? Coco Chanel's fashion designs were inspired by her own desire for comfort and practicality. She wanted women to be able to move freely and feel confident in their clothing.

  3. Was Coco Chanel a feminist? While Coco Chanel's views on feminism are debated, she did challenge traditional gender roles with her designs and lifestyle. She believed in the power of women and aimed to empower them through fashion.

  4. What is the most iconic Chanel item? The most iconic Chanel item is arguably the little black dress. It was a revolutionary design that combined simplicity and elegance, and has become a timeless wardrobe staple.

  5. How has Chanel continued to evolve since Coco Chanel's death? Chanel has continued to evolve since Coco Chanel's death, while still staying true to her classic style. Karl Lagerfeld, and now Virginie Viard, have brought their own unique vision to the brand, while still incorporating Chanel's signature elements such as the interlocking C logo and quilted bags.

Back to blog

Leave a comment


This article was written by Muhammad Saleem Shahzad, Managing Editor of Fashion and Manufacturing. With more than a decade of experience in the Fashion industry, Muhammad reports on breaking news and provides analysis and commentary on all things related to fashion, clothing and manufacturing.