1883: August 19 Gabrielle Chanel is born
in Saumur / France
into a poor family.
Her father Albert Chanel was in intinerant street vendor.
Her mother was Jeanne Devolle.
1895: At age 12 Gabrielle and her two sisters (Julia Berthe and Antoinette),
were sent to a catholic convent of the
Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Mary at the Abbaye d' Aubazine in Corrèze, France.
The nuns teached her sewing.
Chanel was able to find employment as a shop assistant and seamstress
in a drapers store on rue Saint Horloré Paris 8eme.
She also neede to earn her living beeing a cafe singer.
Her nickname "Coco" might be a deviation from "Cocotte",
in French an affective expression for a lovely girl or woman.
Also one of her songs was "Ko Ko Ri Ko"
and soon her audiance greeted her as Coco.
1909: Coco Chanel founds her company
and opens a hat store in Paris at 160 boulevard Malesherbes.
The capital is given to her by her lover Etienne Balsan,
a textile businessman and socialite.
1910: with the help of her boyfriend Arthur Boy Chapel,
Coco establishes Chanel Mode on 21 rue Cambon
1913: opening of the shop in Deauville outside Hotel Normandy
just behind the Casino
1915: opening of a boutique and couture salon in Biarritz.
Coco Chanel has her own house but she is frequently at the Hotel du Palais.
1916: Chanel suits appear in the American Vogue for the first time
1918: Coco Chanel meets the
Russian Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov .
Like other exiled aristocrats Dimitri, a direct cousin of the Zar Nicolas II,
tries to find a job in the fashion industry
and he is interested by Coco Chanel's activities.
1919: opening of a new larger Paris store on 31 rue Cambon (photo taken around 1960 by Douglas Kirkland).
1919: Dmitri Romanov shows Coco Chanel the Cremerie de Paris,
a cheese store on 15 rue des Halles, not very far from rue Cambon.
In the historic courtyard of the Cremerie
is a magnificient staircase including a "5" symbol.
The staircase fascinates her ....
1920: Grand Duke Dimitri Romanov introduces Coco Chanel
to the Russian / French perfumer Ernest Beaux in Cannes.
They stay at the Hotel Carlton.
1920: Coco Chanel
is thinking about a Monogram matching her initials CC.
There are different theories about the birth of the Logo.
1921: the first version of Chanel N°5 comes alive,
Chanel offers small samples to her Boutique clients.
Her clients love the perfume but Coco Chanel doesn't have the knowhow
to produce larger quantities. The perfume comes in a bottle designed
by Coco Chanel including for the first time the iconic double C logo.
1924: at the racetracks of Longchamps Coco Chanel is introduced
to Pierre Wertheimer by Theophile Bader.
Pierre and his brother Paul Wertheimer
own of the perfume house Bourgeois,
Theophile Bader is the founder of the Galeries Lafayette Department store.
1924: is established "Parfums Chanel".
Ernest Beaux brews the perfume,
one of the first ones to mix natural and artificial essences.
Coco Chanel designes the bottle,
the octagonal cap recalls the geometry and proportions of the place Vendôme.
The jewish businessman, Pierre Wertheimer provides the financing and
70% interest in the Chanel Perfume business.
20 % are hold by Théophile Bader.
Coco Chanel licenses her name and expertise for 10%.
Parfums Chanel are a different company seperate from the fashion house.
Later the terms of the agreement create major conflicts between Coco Chanel and Wertheimer,
as Coco feels having blindly signed an unfair deal.
Chanel N°5 becomes a world success.
Until today it is the best selling perfume worldwide.
1925: Coco Chanel meets the Duke of Westminster in Monte Carlo.
They fall in live.
The Duke who's nickname was Bendor was one weathiest man of the World.
On the côte d'Azur the live between the yacht of the duke "The Flying Cloud",
the Hotel de Paris, the Hotel Hermitage and a little later Chanel's "Villa La Pausa".
Bendor spoils Mademoiselle Chanel with valuable jewellery and other presents,
but in what concerns an eventual marriage Coco Chanel made the famous quote: "There are many Duchesses of Westminster but only one Coco Chanel".
1926: invention of the little black dress
praised by Vogue as "Chanel's Ford"
marketability and practicality.
1928: construction of the Villa La Pausa near Monaco.
Vintage Video of Chanel Fashion shows during the 1930s
1934: CC attends the Bal du Second Empire given by Prince de Faucigny-Lucinge 1935: CC attends the Grand Siècle costume Ball given by Count Etienne de Beaumont
1937: Coco Chanel is wealthy enough to move to the Hotel Ritz.
The Hotel and the place Vendome become a source of inspiration for her.
4,000 people work for Chanel.
1938: Coco Chanel becomes friends with Aimée de Heeren,
former secret first Lady of Brazil.
1939: July 1, Coco Chanel and Aimee de Heeren go to the Circus Ball given by Lady Mendl.
The Duke of Westminster falls in Love with Aimée de Heeren,
one of the World's most beautiful woman and 20 years younger than Chanel.
One day Chanel finds out and this ends her friendship with Aimée.
1939: September Chanel closes her shops after the declaration of World War II,
31 rue Cambon remains open for accessories & perfumes.
1940: Pierre Wertheimer emigrates to New York.
Without success Coco Chanel used her contacts with the German occupation forces
to get hold of the Wertheimer interests in her perfumes.
Anticipating Nazi mandates against Jews, he turns over his interests in Chanel
to Félix Amiot and thus avoids beeing seized.
1947: Coco Chanel and Pierre Wertheimer meet and make peace
over their never ending fights around the distribution of the Perfume revenues.
1953: July 19, death of the Duke of Westminster.
1954: February 5, comeback to Paris and reopening of the fashion house
with financial backing of her old "business partner"
and former "worst ennemy" Pierre Wertheimer.
Coco Chanel is 71 years old .... and at this age sucessful "comebacks" are rare.
One day when asked why did you return ?
Coco answered "one night at diner Christian Dior said
a women could never be a creat couturier".
1955: Marilyn Monroe photo by Ed Feigersh
1955: Suzy Parker becoes the new Chanel model.
Moovie stars Liz Taylor, Grace Kelly and Rita Hayworth adopt Chanel dresses.
1955: Launch of the perfume "Pour Monsieur".
1957: Coco Chanel receives the Neiman Marcus Fashion award.
1957 / 1959: Coco Chanel with her models
1959: Chanel enters MoMA, the New York Museum of Modern Art.
1960: Coco Chanel and her former rival Aimée de Heeren
both miss the Duke of Westminster and they reconsilate
as they have many souvenirs to share.
1960s: Coco Chanel is getting old and she is very lonely.
Aimée de Heeren calls her to cheer her up.
They go on long evening walks through the city of Paris
some take them back to the beautiful staircase with the 5 symbol
the Cremerie de Paris / Hotel de Villeroy.
40 years later,
Aimeé de Heeren returns to Cremerie de Paris,
in the meantime converted to an Internet Cafe
where she takes web lessons.
Her teacher is the writer of this article and the editor of VB.com.
He has had the chance to be the new evening walks company for Aimée
giving him acces to crazy and funny stories ...
most of the time not realizing their historic significance.
1962: Romy Schneider wears Chanel in a Luchino Visconti moovie.
1963: International Telecom Union in Geneva prepares a new
World phone system giving direct dial country codes for every counrty.
During their night walks Coco Chanel and her Brazilian friend Aimée de Heeren
have a crazy idea. They want to get +55 as the phone code for Brazil.
With the help of their friend Johannes von Thurn & Taxis
Aimée de Heeren undertakes all kind of lobbying efforts
which might have had some impact on the attribution
of the magic double "55" phone code.
1965: Pierre Wertheimer dies
and his son Jacques
takes control of the company.
Jacques Wertheimer is more know for his horse breeding
activities that for his work for Chanel.
1966: Coco Chanel receiving Marie Helène et Nadine de Rothschild at home.
1968: Catherine Deneuve becomes the new face for the Chanel N°5 ads.
1970: Launch of Chanel N°19, the "19" stands for Coco's birthday.
1970: Interview with her friend Jacques Chazot (In the late 1980s editor of this artice
once had the chance to sit next to Chazot on a train from Geneva to Paris, but unfortunatly he was stupid enough
not want to talk to Chanel's friend)
1970: December, Coco Chanel and Aimée de Heeren meet for the last time.
1971: January 10, Coco Chanel dies at the Ritz.
The funeral is the the Madeleine Church in Paris.
Chanel's favorite models occupy the front row seat at la Madeleine.
Coco is buried in the Bois-de-Vaux cemetery in Lausanne.
Several movies are made about her life.
"Coco before Chanel" is made in 2009,
the french actress
Audrey Tautou plays Coco Chanel.
You can read the article Secret Life of Chanel by Justine Picardy from the Sunday Telegraph.
1974: Alain Wertheimer (son of Jacques and grandson of Pierre)
takes control of the company at age 25.
He succedes to revitalize the companies aging image.
1978: Jacques Polge becomes the third artisitic director of Chanel Perfumes
1981: launch of the perfume Antaeus. 1981: opening of the Chanel store at SN3 in Antwerp.
1982: opening of the Chanel store in Brussels.
1983: Karl Lagerfeld is hired as chief designer.
Lagerfeld was previously working for Fendi and Cloe.
1983 - 1989: Ines de la Fressange is the Chanel Top model with an exclusivity contract.
The contact breaks when Ines de la Fressagne become the new "Marianne"
1984: launch of the perfume Coco
Commercial with Vanessa Paradis directed by Jean Paul Goud
Over 40 Chanel Boutiques are opend during the 1980s
1989: December opening ot the Chanel store in Zuerich
1990: launch of the perfume Egoiste. 1993: opening of the Chanel store in Duesseldorf.
1996: launch of the frangrance Allure (Perfumer Jacques Polge) 1996, August 26: registration of the Chanel.com internet domain 1996: acquisition of the gunmaker Holland & Holland
1996: opening of the New York Boutique on 57th street
2001: launch of the perfume Coco Mademoiselle 2001: acquisition of the watchmaker Bell & Ross
2002: launch of the perfume Chance
2005: December opening ot the Chanel store in Amsterdam.
2006: Aimée de Heeren dies in New York, 103 years old.
With her many secrets of Gabriel Chanel go ...
2007: December opening ot the Chanel store in Florence
2011: Lauch of the Chanel Cruise Collection
30 min Short Moovie "The Tale of a Fairy"
played at Villa Eilenroc and other places on the côte d'Azur
may 9 2011 at the Hotel du Cap. The Tale of a Fairy
was imagined written and directed by Karl Lagerfeld.
There might be some inspriation from the filmmaker Anna Albelo.
The main actresses are Anna Mouglalis,
Kristen Mcmenamy, Freja Beha
with minor rols by Baptiste Giabiconi, Jake Davies, Oriol Elcacho,
Sébastien Jondeau and Brad Koenig.