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Do You Know Coco Chanel?

Updated on November 19, 2011

Sure you do. Most women do and many men also. Yet, you would never know about her incredible life and you would not know her even if face to face with her.

She began poor, got lucky with rich men, yet, at the end of her life in her 80's, she would need nightly morphine injections to numb her and keep her tied to a bed in the Ritz, in order to keep her from wandering in the hallways searching for sex. At the time, she had built a vast empire and had everything. Yet, the one thing that had eluded her since the early twenties and that had left her so hollow was love. Being in true love and that wonderful feeling.

Known as Coco Chanel, her birth name was Gabrielle. Born in 1883, this orphan who spent early years in a convent would become the name of the world's most famous perfume, Chanel. No.5. Gabrielle preferred the name Coco (short from cocotte = a term for a loose woman), and she seemed proud of it. Yet, before the perfume and clothing styles debuted in 1926 with a sleek profiling black dress, she was a common peasant. She worked as singer in a cabaret where she used her looks and body to turn a trick to get ahead. She was a seamtress. It was her looks that men liked and like a weapon to get ahead, she ended up with rich men. She is credited with giving birth to "modern woman" and introduced the bland 1920's look into one with separates in clothing, soft cardigans, roomy jackets, knit jersey and slinky dresses that showed off attributes. She was a woman whose life was filled with affairs with very rich men and never married them. Many in France called her a woman slightly higher than prostitute during her teens and 20s, as she went from one trick to another. Yet, she did fall in love once in 1919 to Boy Chapell, only to lose him to a car crash.

During WW2, she found a young Nazi officer to trick with. She was smart as she despised the Germans, yet, in order to survive, she had to play the game. Yet, the world's famous perfume was born from the ashes of it. Coco was saved from French retribution for helping the enemy by none other than Winston Churchill in 1945. She fled to Switzerland and remained in hiding until returning to France in 1954. It then she debuted her iconic silk lined tweed. A boxy jacket over a slim skirt for those with elite status. She became a fashion giant and set the trends.

In 1969, Broadway devoted a new spectacle called, Coco, with Katherine Hepburn. It would be a great flop.

Coco died in 1971, filthy rich from trend setting fashion designs and perfume, yet, still feeling unloved.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      I know, very much so and tragic.

    • Deerwhisperer profile image

      Brenda Krupnow 6 years ago from Bradenton, Florida

      Amazing story!