Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971)
It’s a sunny day in Paris, with a blue sky and fat, white puffy clouds slowly moving across the city. There is a small wind, that requires a jacket in the morning & evening. This day should be a holiday in France – it is not.
I have fallen back into an old school format – where summers were spent reading novels. I am glad, that I now can choose my subject, and it not be dictated down to me. So this summer, I thought it best to learn about how to dress better. This is a simple concept –but don’t let that fool you. My education of what is ‘fashion’ and what is ‘classic’ , opened my eyes to see, the many errors I made all these years.
And this is why, I now consider Coco a fashion Goddess, and a style icon. In all the books I read this summer ALL (12) of them, gave tribute to Coco for her discerning rules of what a woman needs in her closet.
(the early years – notice she is wearing a coset and has long hair)
Upon this constant reference to Coco, I started to read and learn about this woman – and what impressed me – was her character. It was her strong backbone, and iron will.
Her father put her & her sister in a Catholic orphanage, (mother died months before) like tossing out old shoes. Lucky for them, they had each other for support. How many buckets of tears fell from these little girls, as night after night, living in strange conditions, with strangers. It was within these walls of modest living, that her iron will and strength emerged.
Gabrielle Chanel thought of herself, as a singer, and use to sing a simple song about a dog named ‘Coco’ – thus how she acquired this nickname. Literally singing for her supper…
With no parent connections, or fancy college degree, Coco moved forward. Secure in her faith of knowing what elegance was, and did not worrying about what was the latest fashion trend .
This is what I found amazing about her, to follow a dream, beyond any logic. Of course, there were problems and set backs – in this life, this is common among all of us. What is not common is the fire that burns deep down , inside the soul to push forward, when the brain wants to stop & quit .
If God allowed me- I would love to chat with Madame Chanel – about her early years. Did she know in the orphanage – that she would become famous? When did she first feel, her Iron will – take over? – and move her ahead, and dismiss the nay-sayers. Did she ever see her father again ? Or did she dismiss him, like he did to her – and allow nature to take its course – and his ending to become worm food. Did she ever forgive him ? Ever pay any of his bills?? What about relatives – did she turn her back on them too ? Did they try and save her ? Or allowed the severed relationships to continue? When did she feel she ‘made it big ‘ ?
What I find amazing, is in the building of the woman. Is it possible to become a strong person, without some kind of test from Hell? Is living with a devastating pain, required for the person to grow a back of iron ? Out of this kind of Hell, you either become an Iron – or you become sand. Iron can take the heat & challenges, and sand gives no resistance to wind or rain.
Yes, if God allowed me – I would like to talk to Coco, about these facts- pain, and iron.
This is my favorite picture of Coco, because what I see, is a women- who cut her hair. Wearing black, when she was not in mourning (which was the custom) – tons of pearls around her neck. Her simple – but popular hat, with her rebellious cigarette in her mouth.. I see the tough kid – grown up – into a tough woman.
I am such a fan – that I named my chocolate lab dog, Coco.
I applaud you Coco, who sung for your dinner. You made it out of the orphanage, into the History books !