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English - Enterprising People

Enterprising People 7 - Coco Chanel

Enterprising: (adjective).  Showing initiative and willingness to undertake new projects.


Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel (1883 – 1971) was a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist philosophy, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion.

Chanel was born on 19 August 1883 in the small city of Saumur, Loire Valley, France. She was the second daughter of travelling salesman Albert Chanel and Jeanne Devolle. Coco was born in a peasant village.

School holidays were spent with relatives in the provincial capital of Aubazine, where female relatives taught Coco to sew with more flourish than the nuns at the monastery were able to demonstrate

In 1913, she opened up her first shop which sold a range of fashionable raincoats and jackets. Situated in the heart of Paris, it wasn't long before the shop went out of business and Chanel was asked to surrender her properties. This did not discourage her; it only made her more determined.

Her hats were worn by celebrated French actresses, which helped to establish her reputation. She said, "A woman can be over-dressed, never over-elegant." Coco knew very well that style comes not only from apparel, but also from attitude. Today, CHANEL creates apparel, accessories, fragrance, makeup and skin care products that give women and men the freedom to feel and look their best.

Mr S. Sutton


Try Our "Brain Challenge"


Five Questions!

          1.Why was Coco famous?
          2. What age was she when she died?
          3. Why might her shop not have been successful? Give reasons for your answer.
          4. Explain in your own words, the quotation "A woman can be over-dressed, never           over-elegant."
          5. In the last sentence, why is the word “CHANEL” in capital letters?

Five Words !

Write the following words in your jotter. Look at the words in in a dictionary, or ask an adult to help with their meanings. Write the meaning for each word in your jotter, beside the word.

pioneer              peasant               provincial                   elegant                    apparel


Research/Personal Investigation

Investigate one of Coco’s designs. Describe it in five sentences.

Find out 3 facts about the Loire Valley in France.

Mr S. Sutton

e-mail : english@kilmarnockacademy.co.uk                                                 tel: 01563 525509

  N. McIlvanney 2011