Coco Chanel Essay

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Chanel was born to an unwed mother, Jeanne Devolle, a laundrywoman, in a facility for the indigent in Saumur, France. This was Devolle's second daughter. The father, Albert Chanel was an itinerant street peddler who with horse and cart lived a nomadic life, traveling to and from market towns, the family residing in rundown lodgings. He married Jeanne Devolle several years after Chanel was born. At birth Chanel’s name was entered into the official registry as “Chasnel.” It is speculated that this spelling was a clerical error or an ancient spelling of the family name.[3] The couple eventually had five other children: Julia-Berthe, (1882–1913), Antoinette (born 1887) and three brothers, Alphonse (born 1885), Lucien (born 1889) and Augustin (born and died 1891). In 1895, when she was twelve years old, Chanel’s mother died of tuberculosis. Her father sent her two brothers out as farm laborers and the three daughters to a bleak area of central France, the Corrèze, into the hands of a convent for orphans, Aubazine.[4] It was a stark, frugal life demanding strict discipline but raised with the charity of the Catholic faith. At age eighteen, Chanel, now too old to remain at Aubazine, went to live in a boarding house set aside for Catholic girls in the town of Moulins.[5] Having learned the sewing arts during her six years at Aubazine, Chanel was able to find employment as a seamstress. When not plying her trade with a needle, she sang in a cabaret frequented by cavalry officers. It was at this time that Gabrielle acquired the name “Coco,” a name possibly derived from a popular song she sang, or an allusion to the French word for kept woman: cocotte.[5] As cafe entertainer, Chanel broadcast a juvenile allure and suggestion of a mysterious androgyny, tantalizing the military habitués of the cabaret.[5] Later in life, she concocted an elaborate, fabricated history to cover

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