Here are some of the important stagesfrom "Mademoiselle" Chanel’s exceptional career:
- In 1910, she set up her workshop at 21, Rue Cambon - Paris.
- Opening of a boutique in Deauville in 1913 that became the refuge of the chic during the First World War. Her policy was to offer a simplified wardrobe.
- In 1915, opening of a second boutique in Biarritz.
- In 1920 Gabrielle Chanel was inspired by Russia through the influence of her relationship with the Grand-duke Dimitri.
- From 1924 to 1931 she discovered the atmosphere of English comfort with the Duke of Westminster: tweeds, sweaters, and the male jacket.
- In 1926, Miss Chanel brings the small black dress out of its sad role of mourning and funerals. This little black dress was baptised by American Vogue as “Chanel’s Ford" and so practical that it could be found in every wardrobe. It is also around this time that Gabrielle Chanel created the foundations of her own style: She decorated her outfits with a multitude of fantasy baroque jewellery to break away from the severity of her outfits. Inspired by her personal treasures, it was mainly with Count Etienne de Beaumont, Madame Gripoix, and, after the Second World War, Robert Goossens that she made these different jewels.
- A wave of femininity then rose up after the 1929 slump that greatly participated in her international recognition (very fluid chiffon dresses, tulle and lace creations).
- In 1921, launch of her first perfume created by Ernest Beaux, Chanel No.5 that became a best seller straightaway, and remains one to this day.
- Gabrielle Chanel worked on numerous films and theatre productions.
- Closure of her fashion house at the outbreak of the Second World War (during which she moved to the Ritz and then to Switzerland for 15 years).
- The New-Look imposed itself very quickly and American fashion inspired young people after the war.
- Return of Mademoiselle Chanel in 1954 when she produced the Chanel suit, designed it 1913, in all its splendour. With the suit, Chanel offered women outfits suitable for any time of day (as opposed to decorum that required a clean outfit at all times of day – cocktail dress, morning, afternoon or evening wear). Miss Chanel’s favourite material is tweed, flexible and authentic giving clothing a structure getting rid of the weight of interlining.
- Hand-finished hems, the fall of a jacket weighted by a small gold chain, the expert overstitching of linings were a few of the signs of her luxurious and elegant savoir-faire.
Until her death in 1971, Gabrielle Chanel strove to give the female body freedom of movement whilst remaining faithful to her overall conception of elegance...
In 1983, the Chanel empire found its successor, Karl Lagerfeld. He had the intelligence to be in perfect harmony with his era (fulfilling the requirements of the younger clientele) as far as the form was concerned, whilst remaining faithful to the Miss Chanel’s thinking on fundamentals.