Friday, April 3, 2009

Muse of the Month - April

Hi Lovelies! I am SO happy that it is finally Friday! I had an "off" week and am ready to have a relaxing weekend! I recently bought a book called A Year in High Heels: The Girl's Guide to Everything from Jane Austen to the A-list by Camilla Morton. While the book isn't that wonderful, I love one of the segments of it called Muse of the Month. This is where they spotlight women who have altered history, changed expectations of future women to come, and given us ladies something to aspire to! The list includes women such as Audrey Hepburn, Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth, and Ella Fitzgerald.

I loved reading Lou Lou in Lilly's recent post on Miss Audrey so I thought I would follow suit and post on another icon of her day and beyond - Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel.

That's right...Coco Chanel. No one captures Parisian chic quite like her. She is the embodiment of feminine power and success. Her clothes are simple yet chic. "Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury," she once said. Even if you claim not to be a slave to fashion, with or without realizing it, your wardrobe will already have the Chanel touch.

Gabrielle Chanel was born in 1883 in France. Her mother died when she was 12 and her father left shortly after to find work to support the family. Chanel ended up in an orphanage, along with her four siblings. She was educated at a convent, where the black habits worn by the nuns would later inspire her.

Chanel did a lot of things in her endless quest to make a fortune - dancer, horse rider, actress, was during her time as a cabaret singer where she earned the nickname Coco. Along with her astute business sense Chanel also benefitted from a string of devoted "sugar daddies." She once said, "I was able to start a high-fashion shop because two gentlemen were outbidding each other over my hot little body."

Coco opened her first boutique in 1910 with the help of English aristocrat Arthur "Boy" Capel, said to be the love of her life. He tragically died in a car accident in 1919 and it is said Coco never fully recovered from his death. Even though she had numerous glamorous affairs, she never completely gave her heart away again.

Chanel No. 5 was made in 1921 by the mix of 128 scents. Chanel was the first person to incorporate floral notes, particularly jasmine, in her perfume. It was named No. 5 because it was simply the fifth vial she sniffed. The signature Chanel cardigan jacket was introduced in 1925, and with her first tweed outfit in 1928 the Chanel attitude was officially born. Her designs were the perfect armor for the ambitious women of the twenties.

Chanel retired in 1939, closed her fashion house and dabbled in other things until 1947, when she returned to France and reopened Chanel, claiming it was her duty in the face of Mr. Dior and his New Look. In her comeback collection in 1954 she put her little black dress on the runway. It was immediately the must have for well-dressed women.

Coco Chanel worked right up to her death in 1971 and today her spirit is kept alive by Karl Lagerfield, who has been creative director since 1983. Of course CC would probably have hated this - given she thought little of her male rivals.

Some Chanelisms:

"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud."

"Elegance does not consist in putting on a new dress."

"Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door."

"Fashion fades. Only style remains the same."

"A girl should be two things: Classy and fabulous."

"As long as you know men are like children, you know everything."

Hope you ladies enjoyed this little history lesson! And I hope that you all are having a fantastic day! Don't forget to enter the Lilly entertaining giveaway if you haven't done so already (link is on the side of my blog) by 8 pm PST tonight!! I will annouce a winner tomorrow!

And if you get a chance you really should check out the giveaways on my sidebar! These ladies all have fabulous blogs and are offering some great goodies!


Miss. Pretty said...

I love her..and her perfume :) great summary!!! I named my kitten after her, ha.

Lola Cupcake said...

Ms. Chanel rocked! I love the last picture- such a funny pose. Thanks for all the fun quotes- definitely good inspiration to get out there and make things happen!
Hope you have a fabulous weekend Angela!

Katie said...

Thanks for the history lesson! I love the Chanelisms!

Dollface said...

I love Chanel. Honestly, its so classy and elegant.. and timeless. I cannot wait till I can afford a classic Chanel suit... yay!! xoxo

Prissy Southern Prep said...

What a great post. She is very interesting. I love it.

Jules said...

I really liked the history lesson. This was a great post and I learned some things I never knew about CC, like the fact that she was placed in an orphanage, never settled down again after she lost her love and that she lived such a long and fulfilling life.

I love the quote, "A girl should be two things: Classy and fabulous."

Miss Janice said...

I love everything Chanel...everything! So clasic and timeless!

The Polka Dotted Owl said...

love it. women's lifetime channel just did a movie about coco. i hear it was really good. love the men as children quote. i think i am going to have to steal that one for my blog!!!

hope you are having a very happy friday!!!

Chloe said...

she had such a fascinating life.