Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

Fashion designer (1883 -1971)

It was the Englishman Arthur Capel, nicknamed "Boy", who attracted Coco Chanel to Deauville. A wealthy businessman who had made his fortune in coal freighting, he owned a polo stable. Having become Boy Capel's companion, Coco Chanel developed her business with his help. In 1910, he lent her the funds to open a milliner's salon at 21 rue Cambon in Paris, under the name "Chanel Modes".

In the summer of 1913, while the couple were staying in Deauville, Boy Capel rented a boutique between the casino and the Hôtel Normandy. The sign mentioned her full name: "Gabrielle Chanel". She sells the hats she makes. Inspired by the marinières of fishermen and the deck pants of sailors, she invented a new summer fashion in Deauville, with a modern vision of women and androgynous clothing. The color of wet beach sand inspired Chanel beige. The jockeys' saddlecloths inspired the quilted seams of her handbags... In 1916, she used the beautiful and elegant Adrienne as a model in Deauville. She also took her own silhouette on the road, testing out her new outfits with their extreme simplicity and comfort on European aristocrats still cloaked in pomp and stiff corsets. The boutique is always busy.

The shortage of fabrics due to the First World War, and the relative scarcity of domestic labor, created new needs for women. Chanel, a free and active woman, perceived these needs. She bought whole pieces of jersey from Rodier, then used only for men's underwear. From then on, she imposed casual, practical and aesthetic clothing lines: short pleated skirts, pants or pyjamas to wear on the beach, polo shirts, jodhpurs, jerseys, marinières; an androgynous fashion that found its inspiration on the racecourse, golf course, tennis court, beach and yacht.
"I've given women's bodies back their freedom", said Coco Chanel. The woman who destroyed the fashion of corsets, parade dresses, lingerie and padding created a new silhouette: the woman of the 20th century.

It was also in Deauville in 1920 that she met the Wertheimer family, who supported her business development and financed her first perfumes. In 2010, at the invitation of the town of Deauville, Karl Lagerfeld designed a tribute plaque to be affixed in the immediate vicinity of his boutique, which was one of the cradles of the Chanel adventure. In 2018, Chanel launched its new fragrance Paris-Deauville from Deauville.


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