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Overview of Fashion Company Chanel

Chanel is one of the world's most recognized fashion names. From the first Chanel shop to open in 1912, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel quickly rose to fame and became one of the premier fashion designers in France.

Her fashion themes ushered in a new era for women of Paris. Instead of the tight and restricting corsets of old, she introduced a comfortable and casual feel to women, yet her designs were still elegant and transcending. Her simple suits, women's trousers, jewelry, and various textiles helped to cement her position in the fashion world before 1920.

Born in Auvergne in 1883, Chanel was primarily raised by her father after her mother died when Gabrielle was only six-years-old. She picked up the name Coco during a very brief career as a caf?� singer in the early 1900s. She was a mistress to a wealthy industrialist, and later would design some simple hats that quickly became something of a legend.

By the 1920s, her fashion name was expansive. Although Chanel was always seen in "tomboyish" clothes, her designs for women were cutting-edge. In 1922, Chanel decided to add on to her ever-growing industry and release a perfume. Almost 100 years later and Chanel No. 5 is still one of the world's most popular fragrances.

Pierre Wertheimer became Chanel's partner in the perfume business. However, Chanel would only see 10% of any profits from the many fragrance ventures. She introduced her signature cardigan jacket in 1925 and the "little black dress" one year later. After serving as a nurse in WWI, she was heralded. But after having an affair with a Nazi officer during WWII, Chanel's name was mud in certain parts of the world. But that did not stop her brand from generating sales in places like Switzerland. She had a comeback in 1954, and faith was restored in the brand on a world scale.

She would once again catch the eye and admiration of women everywhere. Until her death in 1971, Chanel triumphed as a pioneer of women's fashion. In 1983, Karl Lagerfeld took over as chief designer of Chanel's fashion house, and the Chanel name continues to be one of the most popular in 2008.

Coco Chanel will always be regarded as a true pioneer of not only women's fashion, but women's independence across the world. She single handedly quashed the notion that women took a back seat to men in the world of business. Her rumored affairs and other reported shocking behavior is considered to be nothing but a "tabloid" version of the truth perpetrated by jealous competitors.

Since the early 1900s, Chanel has been one of the most established fashion houses on the planet. And in 2008, the company still continues to deliver creative and beautiful designs, while working hard to keep their classics like Chanel No. 5 and the Little Black Dress relevant in today's society.