There is a lot to learn about Gabrielle Bonheaur “Coco” Chanel, the famed French fashion designer and innovator. She was born in 1883 in Saumur and was reared in orphanage by nuns, where she was taught how to sew at an early age. Chanel began her career as a dressmaker and opened her first business in Paris in 1913, following the example of Caroline Reboux, a fellow fashion designer and milliner. As her new business grew to include Biarritz and Deauville, she then began creating different apparel, with jersey dresses being her first success. Chanel, on the other hand, is most known for her iconic collarless jackets and well-fitted skirts, which were inspired by menswear and centered more on comfort and tailoring rather than femininity and decorum. Chanel is also noted for popularizing the “tiny black dress,” which she wore following the loss of a partner as stylish mourning clothing. The timeless little black dress has become a wardrobe must-have of the elite for every occasion. Chanel also released Chanel No. 5, a widely popular perfume line that was new at the time. The one idea changed the industry forever, and it was the one factor of her voracious success.

The 2.55 shoulder bag was indeed another one of Chanel’s hugely popular designs. Chanel had been making handbags for quite a period of time before the release of the 2.55, but it was her brilliant idea to lengthen the strap to free women’s hands that made it received the title of becoming the “It Bag” at the time and decades afterwards. The 2.55 was named after the sensible bag with Mademoiselle Lock, which was introduced in February 1955. The zipped interior pocket was claimed to keep love notes, the area between the two inside pockets is supposed to store a single lipstick, and the rear exterior pocket is supposed to securely retain money with having to open the bag itself. The burgundy lining was designed to be a not to her Catholic school clothes. The 2.55 was only of several innovations that introduced a new style of dressing for the modern lady and restored the brand after a period of low interest owing to Christian Dior’s buzzy “new style.”

Chanel then passed away at the Hotel Ritz in Paris in 1971, after a series of partners tainted her reputation as well as her business. Karl Lagerfeld, who began to run as creative director of the company in 1983, over a decade after her passing, continues to manage the brand’s creative control. It is possible that the Chanel we know of today owes its existence to Lagerfeld’s flamboyant reinvention of the brand upon his arrival. The famous CC turnlock and chain straps and leather, for example, were added to the 2.55 bag by Lagerfeld, not Chanel, in the late 1980s. Nonetheless, Lagerfeld’s ability to stay faithful to the appeal of the accomplished woman, which was the brand’s core, while injecting an amount of spontaneity that makes each collection and show distinct, has made Chanel one of the most highly desired brands in fashion history.

Head over to Homeless Penthouse’s Youtube channel now and see a brief story on the History of Chanel.