Famed fashion designer Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France. With her trademark suits and little black dresses, Coco Chanel created timeless designs that are still popular today. She herself became a much revered style icon known for her simple yet sophisticated outfits paired with great accessories, such as several strands of pearls. As Chanel once said,“luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”
Her early years, however, were anything but glamorous. After her mother’s death, Chanel was put in an orphanage by her father who worked as a peddler. She was raised by nuns who taught her how to sew—a skill that would lead to her life’s work. Her nickname came from another occupation entirely. During her brief career as a singer, Chanel performed in clubs in Vichy and Moulins where she was called “Coco.” Some say that the name comes from one of the songs she used to sing, and Chanel herself said that it was a “shortened version of cocotte, the French word for ‘kept woman,” according to an article in The Atlantic.
Coco Chanel fue una modista y diseñadora francesa que revolucionó la moda y el mundo de la alta costura de los años de entreguerras, creando una línea marcada por la sencillez y la comodidad; usando materiales baratos y simples, con el objetivo de aligerar la ropa, el diseño de sus modelos eliminó corsés y forros. Todo ello contribuía a dar una mayor libertad de movimiento al cuerpo, como expresión de las aspiraciones de la mujer del siglo XX. Se convirtió en el símbolo de la mujer moderna, activa y liberada. Se codeó con grandes artistas, escritores y artistas contemporáneos; todos vieron en ella a una de las pioneras del feminismo, dispuesta a romper fórmulas y esquemas anticuados.