Profession: Fashion Designer
Why Famous: Born into poverty as Gabrielle Bonheur, Coco Chanel became one of France's leading courtiers and helped change the way women dressed.
Chanel began her career as a milliner in 1909 and opened her first shop in 1910 in Paris selling hats and sportswear. By 1919 Chanel had established a couture house at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris.
Chanel closed her business during WWII and was harshly criticized for having an affair with a Nazi. In 1944 Chanel was charged with collaborating with a German spy but escaped trial.
After the war Chanel relaunched her couture house competing with the likes of Christian Dior. Her innovations for women's fashion included making sportswear acceptable, the famous Chanel suit and the first 'modern' perfume Chanel No. 5.
- 1941-05-05 First modern perfume Chanel No. 5 released by fashion designer Coco Chanel