Fashion designer Coco Chanel, born August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France, is famous for her timeless designs, trademark suits, and little black dresses.
The French born designer's was made famous by the jersey-and-tweed suits which closed the distance between male and female fashions and created a product that afforded women both comfort and tremendous style. At the time inequality ran rampant, Coco Chanel took the hands of feminism by the designer short hair by doing away with rigid corsets and cinched waists, in favor of pants and suit jackets for women - Coco Chanel emerged as a pioneer for women's fashion and women's rights.
In 1912, she was backed by a wealthy man named Arthur Capel, who provided initial funding her first hat shop. In the 1920's, Chanel's designs became very popular thanks to word of mouth. Even though this was a time of economic despair many people still found they could afford a $700 Chanel designer suit, from one of her Paris or Biarritz shops. Eventually Coco Chanel would invent Chanel No. 5 perfume, at that time Chanel's name was on everyone's minds, so much so that director Samuel Goldwin commissioned her to dress the stars of his films, including Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor.
In 1940, Chanel was unfortunately forced to shutdown her boutiques and turned to nursing during war. When she got romantically involved with a Nazi officer and fled to Switzerland, Chanel was exiled for fifteen years from her beloved Paris, only to return to fashion in the 1950s, when she caught the appreciative gaze of American Hollywood.