With two of the most iconic fashion designers of all time behind its collections, CHANEL has been going strong since 1909 and is best known for launching the little black dress and its ever-popular “No. 5” perfume. But there’s a lot more to this fashion powerhouse than most people know.
Here’s a little insight into the fascinating world of CHANEL:
1. The first CHANEL retail store opened in Paris in 1910. Hardly recognisable from the extensive product range of perfume, makeup, jewellery, fashion and accessories available today, the shop sold only hats. The next two shops to open had an expanded collection and also included clothing sewn by Coco Chanel herself.
2. The company mission statement of CHANEL is “To be the Ultimate House of Luxury, defining style and creating desire, now and forever.”
3. CHANEL is listed No. 74 in Forbes Magazine’s list of the most powerful brands and has an estimated value of $7 billion.
4. The first sportswear collection by CHANEL was launched in 1913. Constructed from jersey, it was designed for women undertaking physical factory jobs as their husbands were away fighting in World War One.
5. The Iconic CHANEL No.5 fragrance was created after a fortuneteller told Coco that her lucky number was 5. It was first released on the 5th of May (the 5th month) in 1921. The perfume was developed with the help of Ernest Beaux, a perfumer to the tsars, and has over 80 notes. The perfume we know and love today was the 5th sample delivered to Coco and her favourite. The world’s most famous perfume is considered a work of art by many and has it’s own spot in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
6. The sought-after quilted CHANEL handbag was designed in February 1955, giving it its name 2.55. The chain of the bag was inspired by the keychain of the guards in the orphanage where Coco grew up. There have been numerous reissues of this bag, the most recent in 2005.
7. The CHANEL brand is instantly recognisable by its interlocked double-C logo. This design, created in 1925, is obviously symbolic of the two Cs in Coco Chanel’s name but was also inspired by the design of stained glass windows at the Chapel of Aubazine that housed the orphanage where she grew up.
8. CHANEL’s Autumn 2014 collection fashion show took place in a specially-created CHANEL supermarket, complete with aisles of CHANEL-branded foodstuffs and household supplies, employees and shopping carts. Attendees were invited to help themselves to the stock after the show and happily looted CHANEL doormats, spaghetti and “Eau de CHANEL”.
9. Despite giving the brand its name and being the designer behind many of the iconic products, Coco Chanel never fully owned the fashion house. She started with a mere 10% share of the company and the brand is today owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer.
10. CHANEL’s jewellery collection is one of the most exclusive and expensive in the world but in the 1920s it was one of the first brands to popularise “costume” jewellery, mixing fake and real stones.