Responsible for liberating women from the corset and the only fashion designer to have made it on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, Coco Chanel’s legacy remains just as potent today as it was back in post-First World War times. While Chanel told a more glamorous version of her childhood, born as Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel to an unmarried “laudrywoman,” in Saumur, France, Chanel spent much of her childhood as an orphan. It was during her years at Aubazine, a convent for “poor and rejected girls,” that Chanel learned how to sew—a skill that later gave her employment and the thread to dream… Thus, “Chanel” was born.
It’s Chanel’s self-made empire that sets her story from the rest. For a woman in the late 19th century to not only dramatically exceed her class, but materialize as a trailblazing entrepreneur, patron of the arts, and style icon, was unprecedented. Along with her infamous and powerful quotes, this is why Chanel is revered as not only the mademoiselle-of-style, but also a feminist icon (and one of the first and few who have married the two successfully).
Her enigma has inspired the likes of A-list actresses such as Kristen Stewart, Keira Knightley, and Audrey Tautou; her signature fragrance, Chanel No 5, some 95 years later, remains the hottest fragrance on the international market; and Karl Lagerfeld continues her legacy on the catwalks. With style-signatures such as the sailor striped jersey, the string of pearls, and the blazer and skirt combo, it was Chanel’s taste for simplicity and restraint that was arguably her greatest contribution to fashion. Here are 12 Chanel quotes every woman should live by.
1. “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
2. “Keep your heels, head, and standards high.”
3. “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”
4. “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”
5. “You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.”
6. “Fashion changes, but style endures.”
7. “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
8. “’Where should one use perfume’, a young woman asked. ‘Wherever one wants to be kissed.’”
9. “Some think luxury is the opposite to poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”
10. “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
11. “I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”
12. “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
Feature image courtesy of wikipedia.org.