Sample Marketing Paper on Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel (1883-1971) was a designer and a creator of the fashion empire of the 20th century. She is the founder of the House of Chanel, and her real name was Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. This designer is renowned for her ageless designs, brand suits, and little black dresses. Chanel was born on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France to Albert Chanel and his girlfriend, Eugenie Jeanne Devolle. The parents got married many years after Chanel was born. Her father moved from one location to another as a street hawker, selling work clothes and undergarments while her mother was a laundrywoman in a charity hospital that belonged to Sisters of Providence (Rompalske, 1998).

At the age of 12, Chanel lost her mother, and her father sent her to a convent where she learned sewing. She was employed as a seamstress at the age of 18 and sewed military attires for soldiers who stayed at the town garrison. She also worked as a part- time singer and performed in clubs in Vichy and Moulins where she was nicknamed “Coco.” The name originated from one of the songs she liked singing, and according to her, it was a short version of cocotte, a French term for ‘kept woman.’ Her song “Who’s Seen Coco in the Trocadero” made her famous and enabled her to meet her first rich admirer, the playboy Etienne Balsan (Williams, 2014).

Chanel relocated in Paris after accepting Balsan’s offer to become his mistress. Balsan financed her first business, which was a millinery shop that specialized in sleek, silky hats that were different from the oversize and elegant headdresses. Coco later met her lover, the wealthy Englishman Arthur “Boy” Capel who funded the expansion of her business into clothing shops in Paris and later in the fashionable resort cities of Deauville and Biarritz. She used to sell deluxe casual clothes appropriate for leisure and sport created from the fabrics like jersey that were mainly used for men’s outfit (Davis, 2006).

Chanel managed to acquire a license for making hats in 1910 and launched a boutique called Chanel Modes on 21 Rue Cambon in Paris. The street later became prominent globally and was associated with her name for a long period.

Chanel started another boutique in Deauville in 1913, which lured many customers. With the intention of establishing her own line of women’s clothing, she began sewing dresses of jersey fabric, which had been only utilized for men’s underwear. She was able to obtain the capital that boosted her business. Chanel’s secret was that when designing her dresses, she neither drew her sketches of clothing nor sewed them. Normally, she put a cloth on a mannequin, then cut and slaughtered a sharp less mass on fabric until the anticipated silhouette came out.

In the beginning, Chanel could not afford decorative materials and classy fabrics; she made simple clothes out of wool jersey and other ordinary fabrics. Her slender, boyish body shape looked misplaced inside the hourglass models of Edwardian fashions. Therefore, she slid into the maxi sweaters of her male friends and fixed them to struggle with a distinctly feminine twist (Williams, 2014).

Chanel suddenly became the world fashion designer, receiving a lot of attention. She developed a style that had been initially unthinkable for women-tracksuits. She had the courage to appear in the sailor suit and tight skirt on the beaches of seaside resorts. The style created by The House of Chanel was simple, realistic, and refined. Nevertheless, in 1914, during the First World War, Chanel made the first female skinny suit. She later sewed a redingote without a belt and ornaments, eliminating the bust and archs with almost boyish stringency. She made an understated waist, dress shirt, ladies’ pants and beach pajamas. Chanel rarely put women’s pants on fashion; however, she liked a short man’s haircut due to its easy upkeep. Her style led to the development of a trend for short man’s hair style in 1917 among women, which was widespread. The death of Arthur “Boy” Capel in a car accident motivated Chanel to experiment with black cloth, which was initially Capel’s idea (Horton, 2007).

For six years Chanel also had a love affair with a very rich man in Europe, the Duke of Westminster, who enabled her to establish a line of modern English enthused tweed suits that she matched up with her trademark costume jewels. Additionally, Samuel Goldwyn, Hollywood producer, called her to design movie attires for several America’s biggest stars.

Chanel’s outstanding achievements include the establishment of a product that was iconic and identical with her fashion brand, Channel No. 5 on May 5, 1921. It made her the first designer to put her name on a perfume. Additionally, integrating cosmetics and perfumes into her brand demonstrated a savvy business effort and Chanel No. 5 is the best seller up till now. In 1926, Vogue presented a Chanel design now known as the “little black dress” eliminating black as the conventional color of mourning and making it a must have in each woman’s closet (Rompalske, 1998).

Coco Chanel reformed the fashion industry by transforming textiles, cuts, and real designs of menswear for the free-spirited flapper of teenagers and youth. Her garments freed women from restricting corsets and fitted skirts of the Edwardian Era (Horton, 2007).  Chanel was an authoritative woman, who influenced other women from different social classes to swiftly dress in Chanel clothing. Combining the vocabulary of men and women’s clothes and establishing fashion that provided the wearer with a sense of concealed luxury instead of flashiness are the cases that demonstrate the way Chanel’s taste and perception of style coincide with the contemporary fashion.



Illustrations of Styles and Designs that Made Coco Chanel Famous

The Quilted Chanel 2.55 (8)

Soldiers motivated Chanel to create such a version of a handbag. In the early 1920’s, Chanel did not like carrying her handbag with her hands. Therefore, the design of soldiers’ packs enthused her to create the quilted Chanel 2.55 by twisting the style of the traditional purse. She started by incorporating a long, enlarged strap onto her own bag, which made it easier and realistic to move around with it. She did not reveal this style to anyone for a long period, and the first ever Chanel handbag was produced when the Second World War had ended in February 1955. The chic flap-over bag was originally created in supple lambskin, had a subtle turn-lock and was designed to give the bag body and act as a Chanel trademark, which remains even today after a long period of time. In addition, it contained a long chain strap enabling the bag to be worn at various lengths the same way Chanel wanted. The mark quilting was made to fit well across the front flap and back pocket of the bag, enhancing its immaculate detail.

Figure 1: The Quilted Chanel 2.55 (Davis, 2006).


The Birth of Chanel No.5 Perfume

During the summer 1920s, Chanel established a big fashion house in Biarritz. Later she met a Russian émigré, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, who became her lover. She learned a lot of new costume ideas from him and the experience they had together stimulated her to include parts of the Russian folk shirts with original stitching in her new collection. Dmitri Pavlovich introduced Chanel to a Russian perfumer, Ernest Beaux, who supported her to come up with Chanel No. 5 perfume that is still the best selling perfume in the world. She understood that making the fragrance a success entailed more than a scent alone. Chanel applied her marketing skills to establish a better form of packaging, whereby rather than the ornate flacons which had been utilized previously she established a neutral style by using ideas from her friends’ beauty products. She ensured that the perfume looked unique by creating a firm square bottle and a dense four-sided stopper which did not compliment the delicate fragrance.

Figure 2: Chanel No.5 Perfume (Davis, 2006).

The Little Black Dress

The presence of gender inequality in the early 20s, which had made women to lose their face, motivated Chanel to create the little black dress. She felt that the women’s clothing had started losing sexism and sophistication due sad egalitarianism. This decision made Chanel famous across the globe and enabled her to find a logo of elegance, extravagance and good taste.

The initial models of the dresses were created from forgotten fluid crepe marocain, knee-length, straight cut with tapered sleeves to the wrists. An amazingly correct, modified and innovatory cutting length of skirts differentiated them from other dresses.

Figure 3: The Little Black Dress (Davis, 2006).

Tweed Jacket

The tweed jacket was enthused by men’s clothing. Chanel got the material intended to be traditionally put on by men and redesigned it for women, understanding that its complexity as well as flexibility would match her designs. She began using the Scottish fabric in 1924, and designed the iconic Chanel tweed jacket in 1954. The clothing had four actual pockets, buttons sealed with intertwining C’s and a fine chain stitched into the silk lining. The formation of a little black dress revealed Chanel’s competence. This happened between the Wars at the time of luxury and despite the fact that she designed it to demonstrate her austerity she later changed it into a foil of decoration.

Figure 4: Tweed Jacket (Davis, 2006).

Borrowing from the Boys: The Cardigan

To ward off a chill one day, she did as she had often done in the past and plucked a sweater from “Boy” [Capel, her lover]. But instead of pulling it over her head, to keep it from messing her clothes, she took her scissors and snipped it down the front, finishing off the raw edge with a ribbon and adding a collar and a bow. It was a hit as soon as she put it on. Without even knowing how much it cost, other women wanted the same outfit for themselves. She sold ten almost at once. “My fortune was founded on that old jersey,” she remarked dryly, “just because I was so cold in Deauville.”

Figure 5: Borrowing From the Boys: The Cardigan  (Davis, 2006).


One interesting fact about the designer Coco Chanel is that she is the only fashion designer who was listed on the Time magazine’s list of the 100 highly influential persons of the 20th century. She was an inventor who set trends instead of following them. Being a risk taker, her philosophy was that “to be irreplaceable, you must be different.” She was wise, stylish, and on the forefront. The dresses she made transformed women’s appearances and their self-perception.



Davis, M. (2006). Chanel, Stravinsky, and Musical Chic. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress,

Body & Culture, 10(4), 431-460.

Diamond, J., & Diamond, E. (2013). The world of fashion. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Horton, R. (2007). Women who changed the world. Quercus.

Rompalske, D. (1998). Chanel number one. Biography, 2(11), 60.

Williams, E. (2014). High five for No. 5’s Coco Chanel. Management Today (14405636), 45.