Yesterday, the world celebrated 131 years from Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel’s birthday. To join the merriment, we’ve decided to take a look into the life of the most iconic female designer of the world, by telling you 5 facts you might not know about Coco Chanel.

 

Fact you might not know about Coco Chanel #5: She lived in the Ritz Hotel

Coco Chanel was a very eccentric character, which is why it’s not surprising that she made a hotel room her home. Specifically, the fashion designer moved in to room 302 of the Ritz Hotel in Paris in the early 30s, and lived there for more than 30 years, until she passed away. When she moved in, the designer brought her own furniture and decorated the place lusciously.

After Chanel died, the Ritz preserved and restored her possessions, and nowadays the room is one of the most expensive and attractive landmarks of the hotel.

 

Fact you might not know about Coco Chanel #4: She made sun tanning fashionable

Although Coco Chanel was fair-skinned throughout most of her life, she accidentally received a tan in 1923 as she was sailing on a yacht while visiting the French Rivera. When she arrived to her home, fans loved her look, and both celebrities and common folk began adopting it as a trend and thus attempted to look bronzed.

Sunbathing was popular before, yet fair skinned was regarded more highly than darker skin tones -that is, until Chanel.

 

Fact you might not know about Coco Chanel #3: She might have supported the Nazi cause

Perhaps the darkest aspect of Coco Chanel’s life, according to investigators, the fashion designer was a numbered Nazi agent and sympathizer. Many believe she didn’t actively take part on the cause, yet she did have personal links with Nazis, and she took advantage of the anti-Semitic laws to try and regain control over her business, which was controlled by Jews.

However, Chanel was never charged of any crime, although she was questioned in 1949, and nowadays the claims of her connection to the Nazis still create controversy amongst historians.

  

Fact you might not know about Coco Chanel #2: She often lied about her origins

Chanel came from very humble roots, with a mother who was a laundrywoman, and a father who peddled work clothes. As a child, she even had to live in an orphanage for some time, and as a young woman, she worked as a singer in a cabaret. Still, when Chanel talked about her infancy as an adult, she would usually change the truth to make it more glamorous.

She usually overlooked her stay at the orphanage, talked about a family fortune, and even tried to change the date of her mother’s passing.

     

Fact you might not know about Coco Chanel #1: She was an innovator in the industry

Behind the Chanel brand there was an extremely intelligent woman whom managed to change fashion forever. Chanel redefined fashion by working on more liberating and tomboyish silhouettes for women. She also introduced the jersey fabric and costume jewelry as glamorous fashion statements, introduced exotic designs to her work, and created the little black dress.

Her iconic fragrance, the Chanel N° 5, was also one of the first perfumes to have a designer’s name associated with it, and its design holds a permanent spot in the MoMa’s collection.

 

 

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Sources:

Beautylish. 8 things you didn’t know about Chanel N°5 Perfume. http://www.beautylish.com/a/vcnij/chanel-no-5

College Fashion. Know your fashion designers: 10 facts about Coco Chanel. http://www.collegefashion.net/uncategorized/know-your-fashion-designers-10-facts-about-coco-chanel/

How Stuff Works. Spray Tanning Basics. http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/sun-care/spray-tanning1.htm

The Gloss. 8 things you didn’t know about Coco Chanel. http://www.thegloss.com/2009/08/06/fashion/8-things-you-didnt-know-about-coco-chanel/

The New York Times. Was Coco Chanel a Nazi Agent? http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/books/review/sleeping-with-the-enemy-coco-chanels-secret-war-by-hal-vaughan-book-review.html?_r=0

The Telegraph. Coco Chanel ‘was a Nazi agent during Second World War’. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/8704910/Coco-Chanel-was-a-Nazi-agent-during-Second-World-War.html