Five Things You Didn't Know About Coco Chanel

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A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. – Coco Chanel

She brought us the little black dress and she is synonymous with chic fashion and classy fragrances. Indeed, it is hard to think of great fashion without thinking of Coco Chanel – even if only briefly. So you might be very familiar with her name, but there are still some things about the non-conformist fashion designer you probably don’t know yet…

Cabaret Coco

Before she was Coco Chanel, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel sang in a cabaret, making her debut on stage singing at a café-concert, which was a popular mode of entertainment in her time. In fact, it was there where she reportedly acquired the name ‘Coco’, from the two popular songs "Qui qu'a vu Coco" and "Ko Ko Ri Ko".

Fabulous Five

Chanel No. 5, which is the best-selling perfume ever, was really all about the number five – from being launched to the public on May 5, 1921, to having Coco Chanel choose the fifth variant of experimental perfumes being prepared. A fortune teller had told her that her lucky number was five.

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Trendy Sun Tan

Coco Chanel was so in vogue that anything she did was immediately copied – right down to her accidental sunburn after a cruise holiday. This was during a time when sunbathing was not the most popular thing in the world, but upon a sunkissed Coco’s return to Cannes, the public immediately picked up the ‘trend’.

Hotel Life

Coco Chanel’s residence was a swanky suite at Paris’ Ritz Hotel for almost 40 years, right up till she died on her bed in 1971. It was a January when she had just returned from a walk with a friend, and her last words were reportedly to her maid Celine. “You see,” she said. “This is how you die.”

She Cut Her Teeth at an Orphanage

Chanel learnt the tricks of the trade at an orphanage in a convent, where she was sent right after her mother’s death. She stayed there till she was 18, learning the art of embroidery, and how to iron and sew.

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