“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance” - Coco Chanel
Chanel is among one of the most well-known French fashion houses - the interlocked ‘C’ logo is instantly recognisable to fashion enthusiasts and beauty lovers alike. Today, Chanel has an empire of luxury ready-to-wear and haute couture clothing, leather goods, sunglasses, and beauty. But where did this all begin?
It all started in a little shop on Malesherbes Boulevard in Paris, 1909 - and from there, began to grow into the elegant French fashion brand we know so well today.
Chanel: Parisian Beginnings
A skilled seamstress, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel first entered business making hats and accessories before she created the iconic luxury pieces that we know the Chanel brand for today.
Chanel’s success grew after the end of World War 1 - what set her apart from other fashion houses at the time was that Coco Chanel was a pioneer in women’s fashion. She was dead-set on breaking boundaries - an ethos that the Chanel brand still carries today.
Coco Chanel broke ground by offering fashionable luxury clothes without a corseted, slim-waisted silhouette in favour of chic, sporty pieces in materials like jersey and rayon.
She pioneered the idea of fashion that didn’t require corseting to look good, holding to an ethos of simple elegance that still runs through the veins of Chanel today.
Here’s some trivia - did you know that the creator of the original Little Black Dress was Coco Chanel herself?
But alongside the creation of the Little Black Dress, Chanel Tweed Suit and 2.55 bag, Coco Chanel knew the power of makeup paired with impeccable style. She once said, “If you’re sad, if you are disappointed in love, put on your makeup, give yourself some beauty care, put on lipstick, and attack.”
Coco launched Chanel’s lipstick line in 1924 - some of these shades are still created today, including Pirate, one of the world’s best-selling red lipsticks. Another iconic Chanel beauty mainstay is the No 5 Perfume - a fragrance beloved by many the world over since its creation in 1921.
Chanel Beauty is just as much a favourite today as it was years ago - the two products above still have cult classic status, alongside modern favourites such as Soleil de Chanel and the super-Instagrammable La Crème Main.
Chanel & Social Responsibility
Chanel continues to break boundaries, especially when it comes to supporting women. The Fondation (that’s ‘foundation’ in French, FYI!) Chanel focuses on uplifting women in countries all around the world. Coco Chanel believed in the power of women and this ethos is reflected in Fondation Chanel - their mission is “to improve the economic and social conditions of women and adolescent girls around the world.”
Created in 2011, Fondation Chanel helps women around the world for their long-term benefit; their focuses are on improving access to education, economic resources, encouraging leadership, providing health services, and influencing arts and culture in affected regions.
Since its inception, Fondation Chanel has supported 45 projects in 35 countries worldwide and helped to empower thousands of women internationally - something Coco Chanel would be proud of.
Alongside social causes, Chanel is currently taking action when it comes to the environment with an initiative called Mission 1.5° - their plan for reducing the fashion brand’s carbon emissions over the next ten years, plus as part of the Fashion Pact to protect the environment.
Chanel has actually been carbon neutral since 2019 (yay!) so these are all further steps in becoming even more sustainable and less impactful on the environment. For us, this means changes like different, reduced-carbon packaging (such as the Gabrielle Perfume), or refillable packaging.
In the long run, this means intensive changes like transitioning to renewable energy, investing in nature-based solutions, and protecting vulnerable communities - now those are steps that the Chanel brand can be proud of.
The best thing about these initiatives is that every Chanel product goes towards supporting them - so you can be sure that you’re actually making a difference, no matter what you’ve bought. What a great way to get your beauty affairs in order - by getting a little bit of the planet in order, too.
Don't forget to check out our Chanel collection to #gybaio with a little touch of philanthropy today!
Need some help putting together the best skincare routine for your skin type? Try our skin quiz!