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Coco Chanel
0 yrs Designer Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883, although she would often claim that her real date of birth was 1893, making her ten years younger. Her place of birth was also something that she sought to disguise. Coco was born in the workhouse where her mother worked, although she asserted that she was born in Auvergne. 1883
6 yrs Her mother died when she was six years old, leaving her father with five children, whom he quickly farmed out to various relatives. 1889
12 yrs Gabrielle adopted the name Coco during a brief career as a singer in cafes and concert halls, between 1905-08. 1905
17 yrs Coco moved to rue Cambon in Paris. Coco became the mistress of a rich military officer, and then a wealthy English Industrialist, and the patronage and connections that these men provided her with enabled her to open her own millinery shop in Paris. 1910
  She then opened a shop in Deauville, where she designed a few accessories inspired by workmen's and sailor's clothes.  
  Coco Chanel became the first designer to use jersey during the 1920s, and her relaxed, mannish clothes for women soon became very popular with clients, who were tired of the corseted fashions of previous decades.  
27 yrs The scent Chanel No. 5 was created by Ernest Beaux. In a small square bottle, over eighty ingredients were mixed to create this amazing perfume. 1920
28 yrs The fragrance was launched and named No. 5, after her lucky number. All perfumes before this one had immediately become old-fashioned and outdated, and Chanel No.5 became the popular new trend. 1921
  During World War II, Coco was a nurse, although her post-war popularity was greatly diminished by her affair with a Nazi officer during the conflict - he later turned out to be an intelligence agent.  
55 yrs During the Second World War, Chanel's business was interrupted by the German occupation of Paris. She closed her shops in 1938 and didn't reopen until 1954. 1938
70 yrs She could no longer stand the inactivity and began to design a new collection. 1953
71 yrs On the 5th of February, at the age of seventy one, she once more opened her Paris salon with a collection based on her previous best selling styles; the simple, collarless Chanel suit with skirt just skimming the knee, nothing frivolous or fussy. 1954
88 yrs She carried on, working herself to exhaustion, going across the road to her room at the Ritz for a few hours troubled sleep, then returning to her cutting and fitting with renewed vigour. But on January 10, she went to her room and, lying on her single bed, with her maid beside her, she quietly died, at the age of eighty eight. 1971
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