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CHANEL is a firm with a complex history.

Founded in 1910 in Paris, France by Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, nicknamed “Coco”.

Coco Chanel was the mistress of a wealthy textile businessman (Etienne Balsan) and she started a small design and manufacture shop for women’s hats on the first floor of his residence.

Etienne Balsan was a socialite and his place also was a gathering place for the French and European hunting and sporting elite, this allowed Coco Chanel to sell her hats to the other mistresses of wealthy men in France and allowed her to meet other powerful men.

Among the men she met was an English Polo player named Arthur “Boy” Capel and she became his mistress as well. He sensed her business instincts and in 1910 he funded her to open her own store in Paris, Chanel Modes, at 21 rue Cambon, that store was at a location that did not allow to sell couture products (custom made garments) because there was another shop selling that so she started just selling her hats, but in the next couple of years she opened other stores in other French locations where she began offering ready-to-wear women’s clothes with practical designs that allowed women to play sports with them.

Just a few years after opening her first Paris store she opened a larger store near the first one; this one offered all sorts of women’s clothes.

During the First World War (1914-1918) she managed to survive with her business due to her ability to adapt and use inexpensive and versatile materials and smart flexible designs. Her clothing lines included garments for daily wear as well as elegant and accessorized evening outfits, outfits that included shoes and bags. Her brand became very famous and successful all over Europe.

By 1915 she opened a Couture house in Biarritz and soon she was employing 300 people.

By 1921 she created her first perfume to compliment her clothing lines. Her perfume was initially offered as a gift to her clients, it was named No.5 because that was the formulation test she liked the most. The perfume became so popular she decided to offer it for sale a year later and in just a few years she seek a partnership to sell it in large scale and also in America. She partnered with Théophile Bader (a French business man) and Pierre Wertheimer (a French venture capitalist). Unfortunately the partnership she found was very unfavorable and she ended up owning only 10% of the perfumes firm (The Parfums Chanel company) but still, the success of the fragrances created made her very rich and the name CHANEL known all over the world.

During the 20’s her fashions were what was called “gamine” or boyish but in the 30’s they evolved to be more womanly.

In 1932 she introduced her first Jewelry collection.

During the Second World War (1939-1945), her operations were trimmed due to the war and at the time she was dating and lived with a Nazi intelligence officer and was rumored to be involved with the Nazis as a collaborator, and at the end of the war she ended up being arrested but due to a lack of evidence or witnesses she was released but was persona non grata in France so she exiled to Switzerland where she created a new perfume company to compete with the one she had with the bad 10% partnership.
This brought up a legal fight with her old partners and eventually she settled with a better arrangement of her old partnership and merging the two perfume businesses.

She returned to France in 1953 with a desire to revive her fashion business and saw how the world was enamored with the high fashion of Christian Dior and after the austerity of the war people all over the world were ready for pretty things. She visualized how fashion would be a drive to the economy and wanted to regain her previous business prominence, but she knew it would be expensive and she did not have the funds so she decided to partner once again with his perfumes’ partner Pierre Wertheirmer and this time he acquired the commercial rights to all CHANEL products.

CHANEL went on to create all sorts of sophisticated garments and accessories which included fine jewelry lines as well as a type of quilted leather handbag that could be carried whether by hand or with a chain from the shoulder. Eventually they even created a perfume line for men.
During this period the designs won many awards and the name became synonymous with high class and high fashion.

Coco Chanel died in 1971 and the business continued under the leadership of a group of people directly related to her but eventually in the next few years the son of Pierre Wertheimer (Jacques Wertheimer) bought the controlling interest of the firm, he never paid much attention because he was more interested in other things but his son, Alain Wertheimer, assumed control in 1974. By then sales were not so good and he developed a group of strategies to make the products more exclusive and coveted and this made the name recognizable among the luxury names.

In 1983 they hired Karl Lagerfeld as chief designer and during the 80 the popularity of the perfumes grew and they opened 40 luxury stores all over the world.

The CHANEL stores offered very high end luxurious products ranging from $200 perfumes to $11,000 dresses. But the biggest source of their success is their fragrance division.
In the 90s CHANEL became the most successful name in fashion in France. And they acquired lots of other fashion firms.

Today CHANEL is still one of the top 10 names in luxury fashion in the world. Their bags, both vintage and new are among the most coveted and most expensive in the world, their clothing is very exclusive and desired and their fragrances are always among the top on the lists of the most popular ones.

CHANEL is very exclusive and many of their products can only be purchased either at their own stores or at very prestigious distributors, typically high luxury stores.
In the USA several of their products, like their watches, can only be purchased over the phone or in person at a store, some stores we feature sell their items brand new but in the grey market, which means they will not include a manufacturer’s warranty. In other cases we feature stores where there is no restriction because they are located in other continents and or countries where they can sell the items openly.

The name CHANEL is a must to include in the closets of the rich and famous.


CHANEL offers: Ready-to-wear fashion, Bags, Small Leather Goods, Shoes, Fine Jewelry, Fashion Jewelry, Watches, Eyewear, Fragrances, Makeup and Skincare Products.




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