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Chanel History

Chanel is a luxury brand that attracts great support from women all over the world. In addition to clothes, the brand offers a wide range of cosmetics and perfumes. The use of black as a base color and the focus on women’s products give it a different impression from other high brands. Why does Chanel have such characteristics?
In this article, I would like to explain the history of Chanel.

The Birth of Coco Chanel
In fact, Chanel’s real name is Gabrielle Chanel. Her mother died when she was very young, her father abandoned her, and she and her sister were sent to a convent.
She learned to sew at the convent, and after graduating from a women’s school, she went to work at a clothing store. While working using the knowledge and skills she gained at the school, she also worked as a singer in a cabaret. The nickname she was given there was “Coco. This is how “Coco Chanel” was born.

Until she became a designer
When her cabaret career did not become as popular as she wanted, Chanel decided to leave the stage. She went to live with a rich man.
When she sees a woman coming to the man’s house, she realizes something.

“She noticed something: “Women’s hats are not functional.

At the time, hats were designed to be glamorous, but not functional. Therefore, Chanel wanted to create a simple hat with minimal decoration.

In 1909, she obtained funding and opened a hat specialty store, Chanel Mode. When she started selling women’s hats, they quickly became popular among Parisian women. He opened new stores one after another, and began designing clothes as well as hats.

Entering the fashion industry
Chanel presented the “First Haute Couture Collection” in 1916. Her simple and highly functional clothes attracted much attention. One of the most notable items was a dress made of jersey. The reason for the popularity of this dress is related to the historical background.
At the time, France was in the midst of World War I. There was a shortage of male laborers. There was a shortage of male laborers, and women were in demand. However, women’s fashions were not designed for working, with large dresses that extended to the feet and corsets that made the waist look slimmer.
Chanel’s fashions, however, were simple and practical, and were highly popular among working women.

The launch of perfume
In 1921, Chanel launched its first perfume, Chanel No. 5. It was a new scent and became popular among fans.
At the time, there were only two types of scents used in women’s perfumes.
“At the time, there were only two types of scents used in women’s perfumes: a single floral scent or a scent with musk or jasmine.
Seeing this situation, Chanel thought, “We need a new fragrance suitable for modern women,” and asked perfumer Ernest Beaux to create one.

The prototype vials were numbered, and the name “No. 5” was given because the fragrance Chanel liked was the fifth vial, and it was to be released on May 5th.
From her childhood, Chanel felt a pure and mysterious fascination with the number five. The hallway of the convent where she grew up was stamped with the monogram of 5, and in the garden there was a five-petaled flowering gorse mallow. She had a strange connection with the number five.

There is an episode that Marilyn Monroe used to use it, and today No.5 is popular as a perfume that women admire.

The item that Chanel introduced to the world
The little black dress is characterized by its loose waistline and straight neckline. The little black dress with its loose waistline and straight neckline has become a standard fashion today, but it was Chanel who popularized it.
In the 1920s, the dresses were all gorgeous designs with flashy decorations. Also, black dresses were only used for mourning or for servants’ uniforms. Black did not exist in the fashion color scheme.
When Chanel introduced the Little Black Dress, there were various reactions from around the world. While it was praised by American Vogue, other media criticized it for its lack of femininity.

The reason for the popularity of this dress has to do with the time period: the Great Depression of the 1930s left women in need of affordable fashion. The simple design of this dress made it easy to copy, and anyone could buy a Chanel-style little black dress. We can feel Chanel’s belief that fashion is not only for the privileged.

Also, in 1924, she sold the world’s first costume jewelry. Chanel herself disliked jewels because she had the impression that they were a symbol of wealth and power. Therefore, she sold pieces that combined fake (costume jewelry) and real (fine jewelry).
The faux pearl necklace was an early hit, and was the perfect piece of jewelry for Chanel’s simple outfits. It transcended class and made jewelry accessible to women everywhere.

World War II and retirement from the industry
In 1940, France was occupied by the Germans, and it was a difficult time. In 1940, France was occupied by the Germans, a difficult time for her, and she was dating a German agent!
After the liberation of Paris in 1944, Chanel was suspected of spying and was arrested. After the liberation of Paris in 1944, Chanel was arrested and charged with espionage, but was released on bail within hours. It is rumored that she had connections with powerful people.
After the war, she defected to Switzerland for fear of being accused of spying. Thus, Chanel disappeared from the stage of the fashion industry.

After Chanel’s retirement, fashion changed again. The so-called “New Look” became popular. It is characterized by a design that tapers from the shoulders to the waist and long flared skirts. This silhouette was introduced by Christian Dior and caused a worldwide sensation. The style, which emphasized graceful femininity, was ironically a design that Chanel had rejected.
She was convinced that sooner or later women would reject the New Look. However, Chanel’s inability to take public action meant that she had little influence on the fashion industry.

Returning to the Fashion Industry
In 1954, Chanel returned to the industry at the age of 71 with a new product. In 1954, Chanel returned to the fashion industry at the age of 71 with a new product line, the “Comeback Collection,” a dark-colored Chanel suit made of jersey that became the talk of the town. This was because the design, which emphasized linearity and functionality, was a direct challenge to the new look that was popular at the time.
What was its reputation?

Looks like mourning clothes

It was not well received.

However, in the U.S., it received great acclaim. Life magazine, a fashion magazine, said, “At the age of 71, she has brought more than fashion to the world. It is now a revolution.

Chanel started selling new products upon her return on February 5. This bag was the original Matrassé, which is now highly popular. Its name is “Chanel 2.55”. Named after the date it was produced, this bag became an instant hit. The durable and practical design, and the shoulder chain that frees up both hands, led to its popularity among women.
At one time, Chanel was considered a relic of the past. After the war, thanks to the advancement of women in society, it was reevaluated and reigned at the top of the fashion world.

Chanel’s entry into Japan
It is said that Chanel first came to Japan in 1969. At that time, Japan was in a bubble economy. The demand for luxury brands was so great that the supply could not keep up. Therefore, there were people who went to France to buy items, and buyers who traded parallel imports at exorbitant prices.

Chanel attaches great importance to the Japanese market, and this can be seen in their skin care products. They have set up a production plant in Japan for the Asian market, producing whitening products that are not popular in the West, including France.
Also, in the past, they have drastically reduced the prices of their cosmetics. Usually, luxury brands do not reduce their prices. Usually, luxury brands do not reduce their prices because it may damage the value and image of the brand. The reason why Chanel decided to reduce prices was to attract new customers, such as young people. Chanel took a strategy that did not damage the brand image, and it was successful.

Chanel’s influence on women
Chanel’s brand concept is “liberation of women’s clothing” and “the image of an independent woman who is not bound by old values. By creating products in line with the concept, Chanel is now also known as a designer who has liberated women. However, she did not actively appeal for women’s rights and liberation. It was her fashion that ultimately led to the liberation of women.
Chanel wanted to do something about women’s clothes that were too tight, so she redesigned highly functional men’s fashions for women. In this way, women were not only physically freed from the corset, but also freed from the notion of “femininity” expressed through the corset.

“Chanel gave women freedom, Saint-Laurent gave them power.

This is how Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent’s partner, put it.

Chanel abolished the use of non-functional hats and veils to hide the face. She made sunbathing fashionable, as if to counter the pure white skin that was considered a sign of aristocracy. Through the creation of black dresses and her own short hair style, she expressed the freedom of women.

Chanel also gives the impression of being an independent woman. She carved out a career for herself without sufficient education. This is expressed as Chanel’s “allure” (French for “attitude,” “behavior,” and “elegance”).

What Chanel was conscious of was not “what to wear” but “how to wear”. She changed not only fashion but also women’s allure (mental attitude), based on being natural and dignified.

Undeterred by her upbringing and social conditions, Coco Chanel carved out her own career through design. The influence she had on women’s fashion is immeasurable. The fashions we wear today without thinking may be the result of her efforts.
As women’s lifestyles become more diverse, Chanel is sure to release new fashions that match them.
I look forward to seeing what kind of designs will appear in the future.

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