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Bottom of Form * Born: August 19, 1882 in Saumur, France * Died: January 10, 1971 in Paris, France * Nationality: French * Occupation: Fashion designer
Legend. Coco Chanel once declared, "Legend is the consecration of celebrity," and no other fashion designer in history has exceeded either Chanel's celebrity or her legend. She was a fiercely independent lover of dukes, industrialists, and artists; a confidante of many of the creative geniuses of her day—among them, writer Jean Cocteau, painter Pablo Picasso, ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev, and composer Igor Stravinsky; and a self-created image of the free-spirited "new woman" of the 1920s. Through…show more content… Chanel both embodied, and in many ways dictated, the revolution in women's fashion that occurred in the 1920s.
Connections. Chanel's influence was in part the result of the personal and social contacts she made in postwar Europe. In 1917 she became a protégée of the wealthy, beautiful Misia Edwards—later Misia Sert—who introduced her to the circle of avant-garde writers and artists with whom Edwards associated. During the 1920s Chanel herself hosted parties for these intellectuals as well as for the wealthiest and best-known members of European and American society. In 1924 she designed the costumes for Diaghilev's ballet Train Bleu, for which Cocteau had written the story and Picasso had designed sets. During the 1920s and early 1930s Chanel also formed intense but generally brief liaisons with fascinating men: Russian Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, who had participated in the assassination of the mad Russian monk Rasputin; Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster, among the wealthiest men in England; brooding French poet Pierre Revedy; and French artist Paul Iribe. Each of these men seems to have proposed marriage, butChanel—always protective of her independence—declined. Most biographers agree, however, that her often-repeated retort to the duke of Westminster's proposal—"There are already three