Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (France, 1883-1971) adopted her nickname, Coco, while working briefly as a café singer in the early years of the twentieth century. Petite and creative, she established a hat business in Paris around 1910 and befriended wealthy socialites who found her simple and flattering styles to be liberating. Chanel dared to be different. She gradually expanded her business to include clothing, perfume (the classic Chanel No.5), and accessories, including handbags. In the mid-1920s, her casual cardigan jackets and little black dress designs merely revolutionized women's wardrobes. Second World War events halted the fashion industry in France, but by the mid-1950s, Coco Chanel again rose to international fame with the right designs for the new world order. She tirelessy worked right up to the time of her death.
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