THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Mademoiselle

Filed under: Designer,Fashion,Musings — phyllisc @ 7:55 pm

125 years ago today, in a small town in rural France, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born to unmarried peasants.  Her mother died when she was 12, and her vagabond father was unable to support his five children.  Gabrielle was sent with her sister to an orphanage, where she larned to sew.  Eventually, around 1910, when she was in her late 20’s, with financial backing from her wealthy lover, she opened a hat shop on Rue Cambon in Paris.  And the rest is history.



  1. Did you hear that Lifetime TV has a movie about Coco coming out in September and starring Shirley MacLaine?

    Comment by LindsayT — August 19, 2008 @ 8:12 pm

  2. Thank you for this post Phyllis. Very timely for me, as I’ve spent the day quilting my first “Chanel” Jacket.

    Comment by Birgitte — August 19, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

  3. I had no idea she was born in the late 1800’s – her work still looks fresh and current to me. Amazing!

    Comment by Mary — August 20, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  4. And she continues to inspire us all…

    Comment by Tany — August 22, 2008 @ 9:04 am

  5. The ultimate success story, especially considering the times she lived in and the lack of opportunity for women.

    Comment by odumnobles — August 23, 2008 @ 8:38 am

  6. I keep wondering who the ‘next’ Chanel might be. Who is the game changing iconoclast who liberates us from restrictions that are outdated and brings in the new vision of a strong confident woman?

    It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s not something that happens in one season. There has to be a body of work over time that adds up to the shift to the new paradigm. It goes hand in hand with a perceptible change in society. Chanel was able to live it, and build it, and got a second chance to come back and solidfy her vision after the apocalypse of WWII.

    I can’t think of a single person who fulfills that scenario right now, man or woman. Can you?

    So we go on with the 20th century version of what is elegant and chic as our model. I am not complaining, its a language we can all understand. I just have to wonder when we can live in the 21st century instead of the past. It’s early yet, though. The new ideal took some time to settle in to the beginning of the 1900’s.

    I expect that there will be some technology of textile that will liberate us. Stay tuned!

    Comment by georgene — August 24, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

  7. Your website and articles are very interesting and informative.

    Comment by momofsixteen — August 24, 2008 @ 8:36 pm

  8. Wow…Catherine Zeta Jones resembles Coco

    Comment by Gigi — September 3, 2008 @ 10:47 am

  9. Dear Phyliss.
    Back in dec. 2006 you made a beautiful Larue bag. I was wondering if I could buy one from you? Yours was better than the original. Please let me know? Sincerely Rene

    Comment by bikerikandy — September 11, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

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