The supremacy of Chanel fashion house has known the world over and today it is one of the most valuable fashion brands in the world. Chanel has many iconic products to its credit including the famous little black dress, Chanel No. 5 and Chanel 2.55.
The success story of Chanel began in 1910 when Gabrielle Coco Chanel launched the label to sell hats that she called “Chanel Modes.” From then on, Chanel evolved as one of the most powerful fashion houses and became a favorite brand of the elites and socialites of Paris. Even the common people who would wear non-Chanel apparels used embroidered patches of Chanel on their apparels to flaunt their style.
From a milliner to becoming a household name in fashion world, there is so much to learn from the annals of Chanel. In our feature of brand profile, we will trace back the history of Chanel and give chronicles of its milestones over the years.
1910: The Launch of Chanel Modes
The year 1910 marks the birth of Chanel when Coco Chanel opened a millinery shop after getting the financing from her beau. The shop was situated in Cambon, Paris where she made chic hats for the elites and socialites. But she wanted more than just making hats from her business. She aspired to become a couturier and her wish was yet to be fulfilled.
1913: Chanel Opens First Boutique
Coco Chanel’s dream to start a couture atelier realized in 1913 when she opened the first boutique in Deauville, France. It is from this atelier that she started making high-fashion clothing. She made sports-inspired clothing for the females.
The jersey dress by Chanel turned out to be a rage and became a staple outfit of the ladies during the World War I. In fact, the design of the dress was ascribed to the world war as it allowed the women to work along with men during wartime since the dress offered more freedom of movement and comfort.
Her fashionable apparels became instant hit for their exquisite cuts and comfort. However, the best from this brand was still to come. The immense success of its dresses led her to open her first couture house in Biarritz, France.
1921: Chanel Introduces the Iconic Chanel No. 5
In 1921, Chanel launched its iconic fragrance Chanel No. 5 which was a brainchild of Ernest Beaux who was a perfumer of the Tsars of Russian monarchy. It was named “No. 5” because of the Coco Chanel’s association with the number.
She considered number 5 as her lucky number and since it was the fifth fragrance that was proposed to her by Ernest Beaux, she not only chose it but also named it Chanel No. 5. It was unveiled on May 5, 1921 which showed her strong belief in the number.
Her belief proved right as Chanel No. 5 became a phenomenal success and turned out to be a game-changer for Chanel. It became a favorite of the Hollywood luminaries and Marilyn Monroe was among them. Part of its success is associated with exquisite design of the bottle. The launch of Chanel No. 5 skyrocketed the sales of Chanel and its sales hit nine million dollars by mid 1940s.
1924: Chanel Rolls Out Cosmetics Products
In 1924, Chanel launched its makeup products for the first time. Initially, the products included just face powders and lip colors. However, it went a step further and collaborated with businessmen Pierre Wertheimer to launch Parfums Chanel which became a new entity of Chanel to produce cosmetics and perfumes under its monograms and custom embroidered patches.
The collaboration proved extremely fruitful for the company and scaled its business even more. Today, Chanel makes a huge chunk of its profits from Parfums Chanel.
1926: Chanel Designs Little Black Dress (LBD)
1926 was the year when Chanel designed the first LBD. With this dress, Chanel pushes forwards the femininity of women and gave social acceptance to black color. The design of the dress was first published in American Vogue and it received praises from fashion critics who described it as simple, bold and beautiful.
The dress holds a significant value in history of fashion and has remained a staple product of Chanel which sells thousands of LBD every year.
1931: Chanel Goes to Hollywood
The increasing style value of Chanel was seen in the movies when Hollywood star Samuel Goldwyn asked Coco Chanel to design costumes for the movie stars. It turned out to be a productive collaboration and paved way for Chanel to enter the tinsel town. Some of her finest pieces of work were in the movies Palmy Days and Tonight or Never.
1954-1955: Chanel Reopens the Couture House and Launches Chanel 2.55
The outbreak of World War II forced the Chanel to close all its ateliers except one at number 31. After the end of war, Chanel reopened its couture house in 1954. A year later, it introduced the iconic handbag Chanel 2.55 which made a huge impact in the fashion world and became the best-selling handbag of the time and still tops in sales.
The USP of Chanel 2.55 handbag was its chained strap that relieve the women of carrying handbags and added to their style statement. It was named Chanel 2.55 after its date of launch that was February 1955.
1978: Chanel Ventures Into Ready-To-Wear Business
In the year 1978, Chanel incorporated ready-to-wear apparels in its business. With this development, it explored new avenues in apparel business and diversified its business. The initiative proved profitable for Chanel and made it a global fashion brand.
The founder of Coco Chanel died in 1971 and Chanel hired Karl Lagerfeld as its Artistic Director in 1980s which rose the dominance of Chanel and cemented its position in apparel business. Karl Lagerfeld created new designs in its range of products and introduced the famous interlocked “CC” logo of Chanel. The company thrived under his creative supervision and made significant developments which contributed to its growth.
1993: Chanel Creates Fine Jewelry and Watches
In 1993, Chanel rolled out fine jewelry and watches which added to the portfolio of this global brand. The jewelry included everything from bracelets and rings to necklace and pendants. The beautiful ornaments have diamond, emerald, pearl and turquoise studded in its design.
This was the brand profile of Chanel, one of world’s most profitable fashion brands. Hope this article adds to your knowledge and insights about this fashion house.