The Real Life of Viviana G: In Memory of Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel, French couturier. Paris, 1937.
Image by Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

By Viviana G.

Chanel open her own store in 1913, in a very particular moment of life. She started selling hats, but soon people wanted to buy all the clothes she wore.

Women loved her look, and so they wanted to look like her. And this was the reason she started designing for other women, because of her very own sense of style, a look everyone wanted to have.

She was a woman of style. Style that made of her one of the most influential designers of the world of fashion has known. Coco Chanel launched the 20th century style of dressing. She urged women to take off their corsets, cut their hair, shorten their skirts and wear her “poor girls” look of knit suits with silk blouses and ropes of pearls.

The Real Life of Viviana G: In Memory of Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel (Reclining) by Horst P. Horst, 1937

“Fashion changes. Style remains”. were her words. But it wasn’t only what she invented for others to wear that make Chanel memorable, it was her personality, her individuality, the “it” that transcended one’s image, and separated her from the crowd. Her most casual gestures were often enough to launch a thousand trends.

She wanted to be a singer and use to entertain in her younger years; time where she met a lot of her men and people that influenced her later in life.

She invented sling-back shoes, she made sunbathing an “in” activity, she put women in pants, and so her legacy still continues today. She is credited for creating a distinctive signature “Perfume”, part of one’s style. It was not until the 20th century when Paris Couturier Coco Chanel launched her own perfume business to enhance her fashion image.

The Real Life of Viviana G: In Memory of Coco Chanel
1960s Chanel in her Atelier, fitting actress Romi Schneider.
.Image by Botti/Gamma-KeystoneVia getty Images.

“No elegance is possible without perfume”, she used to say. And so she worked with the superb perfumer Ernest Beaux, one of the most famous “noses” back then to create a perfume that would complement her simplicity of her clothes. Chanel No. 5, her reason for the name: “my couture collection is being presented on the fifth day of the fifth month, and number five has always been lucky for me”.

“Perfume is the unseen, but unforgettable, ultimate fashion accessory”, according to Coco Chanel. First fashion designer to put her name on a perfume bottle and she led the way to today’s lucrative designer fragrances.

The Real Life of Viviana G: In Memory of Coco Chanel
1960 Chanel, carrying her 2.55 bag, attends the theater in Paris.
Image by AP Images.

In 1930’s, Elsa Schiaparelli the Paris based Italian fashion designer created a color called “shocking pink”, and later in 1937 a fragrance named simply Shocking, which was sold in female torso shaped bottle created by the Italian Artist Leonor Fini, and so did Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein in 1934 and 1940, respectively.

On January 10, 1971, newspapers all over the world announced on their front page the death of Mademoiselle Chanel. She died in the Hotel Ritz of Paris, France; place where she used to sleep. She never got married and did not like to be alone and her own private apartment was just near by the Hotel.

 I can vividly close my eyes and remember her own private place, memories kept inside since I had the previlage to be there. I has not been touched since then. Only three rooms, with a touch of oriental feeling.

The Real Life of Viviana G: In Memory of Coco Chanel
1970 Chanel before her death.
Image by  Forum/Rex USA.
The walls are covered with screen of the 17th century by the Chinese designer Coromardel. Gold, brown, row sienna and a touch of red were the prominent colors in the three rooms. It is a very impressive place with a very strong feeling which goes with Chanel’s strong self. Another big presence was the white flowers all around that she used to put every day, only white, “The Camellia”, her favorite flower. Another big statement was only two paintings in the apartment, and one was from Picasso.
She kept a lot of candles for light around, and indeed was a very intimate, personal and small place: a waiting hall room, a living room and a dinning room; mixing a decoration of style with golden brocade furniture and leather as well (By the way, she was also the first one to use leather furniture). And remember no sleeping room as she use to sleep at the Ritz Hotel; her apartment was on top of her own boutique atelier house; still kept the same way as she left them. 
 The famous stairway still has all the mirrors where she once was photographed, effect that made appears of being one hundred times Chanel – one of her famous photos.

The Real Life of Viviana G: In Memory of Coco Chanel
Photo of Audrey Tautou, who portrays Coco Chanel in “Coco avant Chanel”(2009).
Source: Unspecified

With a snip of her scissors Chanel put an end to the 1900 fashion of frills and flounces. She did not applied to fashion rules, and not only did fashion undergo a stupendous change on her account, but a whole new way of thinking and feeling came into being, an entirely new conception of femininity, simplified and purified.

Above and beyond fashion, Chanel left a style: that of the modern woman, attached to balance and elegance, who changed fashion in the 20th century and who really ruled the world of fashion and still does. Bringing a simplicity and a practical way of dressing where women could dress themselves by themselves. A style and spirit that revolutionized and liberated women in the past from all constraint, from binding corsets, large petticoats and all the flounces of style of that time.

Chanel’s style and spirit made her the Queen of Paris and elegance in the inter-war years, a patron of Parisian Artistic and literary life. Despite her death, her fashion house remains the shine of Parisian Couture; and her shows always brings her numerous loyal customers, celebrities, editors.

The Real Life of Viviana G: In Memory of Coco Chanel
Chanel takes on the world in the Fall  2013 show at Paris’s Grand Palais.
Image by  Dominique Charriau/ Wire image.

The Real Life of Viviana G: In Memory of Coco Chanel
1983 Karl Lagerfeld in his first year as designer for the house.
Image by Jacques Langevin/ AP Images.
The Real Life of Viviana G: In Memory of Coco Chanel
The World of Chanel: A page at a time.

“Women are never elegant enough but always overdressed”. Chanel……Thank you Chanel! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

And these are my experiences that had and continues to shape my lifestyle!

Because I am real,
Viviana Gabeiras
Especial Note: Chanel Creations

Chanel a imposé

Le Jersey

Le pull-over
Le petite robe noire ( the little black dress )
Le tricot ( the sweater )
La Robe chemisier ( the shirt dress )
Les cheveux courts ( the short hair )
Les jupes plissées ( pleated skirts )
L’ensemble cardigan ( twin set cardigan )
Le blazer
Les pantaloons ( the trouser )
Les pyjamas du soir ( the evening wear pyjamas )
L’imperméable ( the raincoat, which she wore it first )
Le teint bronzé ( the suntan skin )
Les chaines en ceinture ( the chains around the waist )
Les longs sautoirs de perles ( long necklaces of pearls )
Les boutons dorés ( gold buttons )
Les chaussures beiges à bout noir (the beige pump shoes with black point )
Les bijaux fantaisie ( fantasy jewelry).

Real Life of Viviana G

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