When big dreams are born and realized from very little opportunity, it makes history.
A select, special few seem to develop this ability to unshackle from the reality of less and create more from nothing, with sheer perseverance.
In that fire of hunger to do better, lies an everlasting ember. In the glow of that ember, mad dreamers nurture their crazy minds and hearts to fulfill lofty ideas and revolutions. Such is the story of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, a tall, thin woman who was always dressed impeccably and dared to dream well past her limitations.
In that austere convent she stayed in as an abandoned child, an austere skill—sewing— was the spark for her life’s work.
Coco remains my favourite icon. She proved to the world that fashion can be created by a poor girl, a seamstress, a singer by the evenings who went on to create an empire. Her rebellion in couture is remarkable. She thought different and ‘unfollowed’ the existing fashion diktat, and changed the way the entire world looked.
Simplicity in luxury was her style statement. Her LBD dress and her Chanel suits are historic in the world of fashion. When women wore corsets and very elaborate dressing styles, she created a new line of poverty-inspired styles.
Her perfume, No. 5, remains the most popular in the world. Even the straight-line bottle of the No.5 reflected the clean-cut silhouette of her dresses, and changed bottle design forever.
We covet the quilted Chanel bag and the No.5 perfume on our skin, hoping to embody the energy that this goddess, Chanel, exuded in her life. Her bevy of rich admirers helped her grow from nothing to the empire called Coco Chanel. She was a spinster who remained married to her art till her last days.
With Coco, the gendered statement of the times, “behind every successful man, there is a woman”, got a corollary: “behind every successful woman, there may or may not be a man”.
Her name “Coco” was given by one of her admirers. One of many, out of which she married none.
She was born in poverty, and died rich.
A feminist, an inspiration, an icon.
Happy Birthday, Coco.