The Life of Coco Chanel

Essay by gcutriJunior High, 7th gradeA, October 2008

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Birth & Early LifeHer father, Albert Chanel, was a ‘nomadic market trader’ who enjoyed travelling to where ever he felt like.

In 1881 he found accommodation in Courpiere, France and soon began to have an interest in Jeanne Devolle, the younger sister of his landlord.

In 1882 Albert wanted to travel again and left the area leaving behind Jeanne who was nineteen years old and by now pregnant. Jeanne eventually tracked Albert down in Aubenas and gave birth to Julia (Gabrielle Chanel’s older sister.)Albert would not marry Jeanne, but she stayed with him and they were soon on the move again, this time to Saumur. It was here that on the 19th of August 1883 that Gabrielle Chanel was born. She was christened by the hospital Chaplain. Gabrielle’s parents finally married in July 1884, and continued their travelling life. By now there were more children. After many years of bad health (because of asthma) her mother became very ill in 1895 and died at the age of thirty three leaving Albert with five children, who he abandoned to different relatives.

The nickname Coco was attained at La Rotonde Cafe. It was there that Gabrielle, then a kind of ‘restaurant singer’, performed a song called "Qui qu'a vu Coco," and the name stuck.

Education & Preparation for ReputationUntil she was seventeen, Gabrielle was educated at an orphanage run by nuns at Aubazine and she spent another two years at another school at Moulins in France.

During her years at the school Gabrielle became very talented at sewing.

During her school holidays she would sew with her Aunt Julia, who had a passion for making hats which soon rubbed off on Gabrielle.

(Gabrielle first shop was a hat shop).

When she was twenty She worked as an assistant in a...