BIRTH OF GABRIELLE CHANEL Gabrielle Chanel is born in Saumur, France on August 19th 1883, under the sign of Leo. Coco Chanel by Boris Lipnitzki, Paris, October 1936
OPENING OF CHANEL MODES Coco, as she had come to be called, opens a hat boutique at 21 rue Cambon under the name Chanel Modes. Her hats were worn by well-known French actresses of the era, and helped build her reputation. Portrait of Gabrielle Chanel wearing one of her hats, published in the magazine Comœdia Illustré, October 1st 1910.
OPENING OF THE FIRST CHANEL BOUTIQUE IN DEAUVILLE Gabrielle Chanel opens her first boutique in Deauville. From 1913, she begins to sell a line of sportswear made of jersey, a material that was previously used to make men’s underwear. This approach revolutionized fashion and women's relationships with their bodies. It was an instant success. Gabrielle Chanel in front of her boutique in Deauville, 1913.
OPENING OF THE FIRST CHANEL COUTURE HOUSE IN BIARRITZ Encouraged by her success, Mademoiselle Chanel opens her first Couture House in Biarritz, France. She employs 300 workers there and designs her first Haute Couture collection. The Couture House in Biarritz, 1931
1918OPENING OF THE 31 RUE CAMBON BOUTIQUE Gabrielle Chanel purchases the building at 31 rue Cambon and sets up her Couture House there. The 31 building housed a boutique, salons and workshops a layout that remains the same today. The CHANEL boutique, 31 rue Cambon by Thérèse Bonney, 1929
1921LAUNCH OF CHANEL N°5 PERFUME Launch of the first CHANEL perfume: N°5. This women’s perfume which smells like a woman, revolutionary due to its composition, name and presentation, was born out of Gabrielle Chanel’s partnership with perfumer Ernest Beaux. First known representation of CHANEL N°5 perfume by famous sketch artist of the era, Sem, 1921.
1922LAUNCH OF CHANEL N°22 PERFUME Ernest Beaux creates CHANEL N°22. Its name is a reference to the perfume’s year of creation, 1922. It was inspired by the same revolutionary spirit that characterized N°5. The powdery floral fragrance is a seductive scent carried by tuberose.
1924LAUNCH OF FIRST MAKEUP COLLECTION The Société des Parfums CHANEL company is created in 1924 to produce and sell perfumes and cosmetics. Ernest Beaux then became the House's first in-house perfume designer.The first collections of powders and lipsticks were created in the same year.
1925LAUNCH OF GARDÉNIA PERFUME Gabrielle Chanel creates Gardénia with Ernest Beaux. A white flower like the camellia, Chanel’s iconic flower with a scent that cannot be extracted, the Gardénia has a more distinctive olfactory signature. Reproduced in 1983, it has formed part of Les Exclusifs collection since 2007.
1927LAUNCH OF PERFUMED RUSSIAN LEATHER Ernest Beaux creates Cuir de Russie. This new leather oriental fragrance evokes the saddlery of the equestrian world. Its trail and name are a reference to birch tar, which was used by Russian soldiers to waterproof their boots.
1927LAUNCH OF FIRST SKINCARE RANGE Launch of the first CHANEL beauty products, a complete range of 15 skincare products, a reflection of Mademoiselle Chanel’s innovative vision.
1928CONSTRUCTION OF THE LA PAUSA VILLA In September 1928, Gabrielle Chanel purchases land in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, between Menton and Monaco. There she builds her villa, La Pausa. In this Provençal house, Gabrielle Chanel hosts numerous friends including the Duke of Westminster, Jean Cocteau, Pierre Reverdy, the Hugo family and even Gala and Salvador Dalí. Gabrielle Chanel in the staircase of her La Pausa villa in Roquebrune in the south of France, 1938.
1928LAUNCH OF BOIS DES ÎLES PERFUME Bois des Îles, created by Ernest Beaux, is one of the first woody oriental fragrances in the history of women's perfumes. With accords of ylang-ylang and sandalwood, its name is a reference to the 1920s and this era’s characteristic penchant for exoticism and travel.
1931GABRIELLE CHANEL IN HOLLYWOOD Upon the request of American producer Samuel Goldwyn, Gabrielle Chanel leaves for Hollywood in February 1931 to dress the actresses of the United Artists studio. She then designed costumes for the following films: Tonight or Never (1931) and The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1932). Actress Ina Claire and Gabrielle Chanel in Hollywood, 1931.
1932PRESENTATION OF THE BIJOUX DE DIAMANTS HIGH JEWELRY COLLECTION In her mansion at 29, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in Paris,Gabrielle Chanel presentsBIJOUX DE DIAMANTS, her only High Jewelry collection. More than 45 jewelry pieces are presented. Photography by Robert Bresson of the Comète necklace, from the press release, 1932.
1939CLOSING OF THE COUTURE HOUSE During World War II, CHANEL closes its Couture House. Of the five rue Cambon buildings, only the 31 boutique remained open, where perfumes and accessories continued to be sold. American soldiers lining up in front of the boutique at 31 rue Cambon to purchase the N°5 perfume, 1945.
1952MARILYN MONROE & N°5 Life Magazine dedicated its feature story to Marilyn Monroe on April 7th 1952. It was in this issue that the actress’ declaration of love for N°5 perfume was first recorded. When asked, Marilyn, what do you wear to bed? Marilyn Monroe answered, So I said I only wear Chanel No. 5.In 1955, photographer Ed Feingersh took a series of portraits of Marilyn Monroe spraying herself with N°5. Marilyn Monroe by Ed Feingersh, March 1955
1954THE COMEBACK At age 71, Gabrielle Chanel decides to reopen her Couture House, with a fashion show event on February 5th, which was extremely well-received by the American press. The first look of her collection was a jersey set with the number 5. Gabrielle Chanel in the staircase at 31, rue Cambon, by Robert Doisneau, 1953
1954ARRIVAL OF HENRI ROBERT Henri Robert succeeds Ernest Beaux as the perfumer for the House of CHANEL.
1955CREATION OF THE 2.55 HANDBAG In 1955, Gabrielle Chanel creates the famous quilted handbag with a gold chain called the 2.55, named after its date of creation. This functional bag equipped with a soft sliding chain allowed one’s hands to be free. Gabrielle Chanel by Mike de Dulmen, 1957
1955LAUNCH OF POUR MONSIEUR FRAGRANCE Henri Robert creates Pour Monsieur, the only men's fragrance launched during Mademoiselle's lifetime. This fresh Chypre scent revealed top notes of lemon, spicy middle notes and a woody trail.
1956CREATION OF TRIMMED TWEED SUIT Gabrielle Chanel debuts the emblematic trimmed tweed suit in her collection.
Marie-Hélène Arnaud wearing a suit from the 1958/1959 Fall/Winter Haute Couture Collection in Vogue, September 1958
1957CREATION OF TWO-TONE PUMPS Gabrielle Chanel creates the two-tone pumps with black tips: the beige leather helps elongate the legs, and the black tip makes the foot look smaller. Shoemaker Massaro added the elastic strap around the heel for more comfort, marking a revolution.
illustration Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, surrounded by CHANEL models, wearing a suit and two-tone pumps, October 25th 1964
1960sCELEBRITIES DRESS IN CHANEL The most prominent women of the era (Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Jackie Kennedy, Romy Schneider, Jeanne Moreau, etc.) are dressed in CHANEL. Romy Schneider wearing the famous tweed suit, two-tone shoes and carrying the 2.55 handbag in Paris, 1962
1965ARRIVAL OF JACQUES HELLEU Jacques Helleu becomes the Artistic Director of perfumes and beauty products for CHANEL. As the Artistic Director for the Fragrance & Beauty division, as well as for the brand’s Watches & Fine Jewelry division, he was responsible for its image. The iconic advertising films created under his direction resulted from the dialogue that he maintained with the directors, to whom he granted great freedom of expression. Portrait of Jacques Helleu by Patrick Demarchelier, 2004
1970LAUNCH OF CHANEL N°19 PERFUME Created by Henri Robert, N°19 owes its name to August 19th, Gabrielle Chanel's date of birth. This green floral scent is characterized by its main floral note, the iris, which gives it a powdery touch.
1971DEATH OF GABRIELLE CHANEL May my legend prosper and thrive. I wish it a long and happy life! Mademoiselle Chanel passes away at the Ritz on January 10th. Her posthumous collection was a huge success. Gabrielle Chanel by Man Ray, 1935
1978ARRIVAL OF JACQUES POLGE Jacques Polge becomes the third perfumer for the House of CHANEL, following Ernest Beaux and Henri Robert. He created the Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Allure, Chance and Bleu fragrances.
1983ARRIVAL OF KARL LAGERFELD Karl Lagerfeld is named Artistic Director of CHANEL. He brought life back into the Cruise collections, introduced the Métiers d'art and pre-collections, restored Haute Couture to its former glory, and created the CHANEL Ready-to-Wear collection as we know it today. Karl Lagerfeld by Helmut Newton, 1983
1984LAUNCH OF COCO PERFUME The first model to sign an exclusive contract with a couture house by becoming a CHANEL spokesperson, Ines de la Fressange is selected as the face of Coco. Inspired by the Venetian style and Baroque universe of Mademoiselle Chanel, this floral oriental was the first women's perfume created by Jacques Polge. Coco campaign with Ines de la Fressange by Paolo Roversi,1984
1985ACQUISITION OF MAISON DESRUES Button-maker Desrues is the first artistic craft house purchased by the House of CHANEL. Desrues Fine Jewelry for CHANEL
1987CREATION OF CHANEL WATCHES Creation of CHANEL Watches with the PREMIÈRE watch, whose dial is inspired by the shape of the N°5 perfume bottle cap and the Place Vendôme. Opening of the first CHANEL Watches boutique at 40, avenue Montaigne, in Paris.
1987-1988FIRST CAMPAIGN BY KARL LAGERFELD Karl Lagerfeld creates his first advertising campaign for CHANEL as a photographer. Ines de la Fressange, who was already the face of Coco, was the muse for the campaign.