It was common for the tailor's customers to flirt with her and she he was invited to the local cabaret. Coco Chanel, attracted by the world of show business, began working in a café concert singing to entertain the customers in the downtime of the main shows.
The audience was usually made up of soldiers. That is how she met Etienne Balsan, a cavalry officer and wealthy textile heir. At the age of 23 she became his mistress and they lived in his chateau where she began to rub shoulders with the European elite. And so she met and fell in love with a friend of her partner's: Capel, an English millionaire who settled her in Paris and helped her open her first shops.
Her shops were very successful, she managed to make elegant, yet comfortable and practical clothes. All this until the outbreak of the First World War, which dealt with severe blow to her business, and then, in 1919, another blow: her love Capel died tragically.
She traveled to Italy to take refuge from her grief and there she became interested in the world of perfumes. In 1921 she launched the famous Chanel N5, whose fragrance and bottle remain almost unchanged to this day.
Coco Chanel continued her trend-setting success. The simplicity of her style, breaking with the baroque of previous years, made her world famous. She went away with the corset, introduced trousers for women and knee-length skirts.
But Coco was also a controversial figure. His aversion to the lower classes, gays and Jews became more evident with the outbreak of the Second World War. At the time, she decided to live in the Hotel Ritz (Paris), where the Nazi high command also stayed during the occupation.
Her relationship with a German officer led to her being interrogated for alleged espionage and having to leave for Switzerland at the end of the war. This tarnished her reputation, especially in France.
In 1954, at the age of 70, she returned to fashion by launching a new collection. It was a complete success in England and the USA.
Controversial, rebellious, ambitious, influential, revolutionary, Coco Chanel died alone in her suite at the Ritz Hotel at the age of 87. A woman who marked an era.