Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born in 1883 in Saumur in France. Her childhood wasn’t very happy. Her mother died and her father deserted family. Gabrielle and her siblings had to go to orphanage. She had a big talent, but she never wanted to be a dressmaker like other girls. She became a cabaret singer.
In cabaret, she met Étien Balsan and got her name Coco. As an Étien’s sweetheart, she fell in love with his friend Arthur Capel. He helped her to open her first shop with hats. In 20th years she opened world-wide famous shop on 31 Rue Cambon and shops in Paris and Biarritz. She created her famous “small black dress” and her monogram. With her partner, Pierre Wertheimer, who owned 70% of a company, she also created parfum Chanel No5. In 1931, she created clothes for Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Gloria Swanson. In 1939 Coco closed all her shops and left to Switzerland, where she lived for 15 years. In 1954 she started to work again- mostly for Hollywood and stars like Audrey Hepburn, Liz Taylor and Anne Baxter.
She had a lot of lovers, but she had never married. She died in 1971 and her grave is decorated with 5 white statues of lions.