Tomorrow Monday August 19 is Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's birthday - it is 130 years ago since she was born in Saumur, France.
Her legacy as a fashion designer and founder of brand Chanel continues strongly, well after her death in Paris in 1971, aged 87.
Fashion as we now it today, not just clothes, but handbags, perfume, accessories such as costume and fine jewellery, was groundbreaking when done by Chanel in the 20th Century.
Yes, she was a driven woman, a businesswoman, her worked hard to protect her company (even associating with the Nazis) but intentionally or not, she also was an early feminist, as her relaxed style of clothes after World War I started to liberate women from the dated and literally strait-laced customs they had endured.
Newer fashion labels and designers have arisen since Chanel appeared on the cover of Time magazine as one of the 20th century's most influential people (the only fashion designer) but there is something classic, special and luxurious about owning a piece of Chanel, even it's just a mascara or lipstick.
Back in May, Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel's creative director and the keeper of the Chanel flame, released his black and white short film, Once Upon a Time..., to mark 100 years of the company – in 1913 Chanel opened a shop in the seaside French resort town of Deauville in 1913.
The 18-minute film (video link below) stars the gorgeous Keira Knightley (a face of the Chanel brand) as a young Chanel and a host of models and names, many of Karl’s muses, in the supporting cast. It's really delightful.
Financed by Chanel’s ill-fated lover Arthur “Boy” Capel, the seaside shop saw immediate success, and the rest has been history.
The film was apparently improvised, the stars making up their lines as they went along. Chanel is shown being helped by her aunt Adrienne — played by actress Clotilde Hemse — as she caters to wealthy clients. Karl has imagined where she might have picked up her famous trends and influences: “Tweed jackets are very chic on a woman,” she observes in the film.
When English novelist and famous gardener Vita Sackville-West — played by Saskia de Brauw — looks through the windows of the store toward the end of the film, she asks herself, "I wonder what it will be in 100 years from now?"
Step back in time 100 years. Enjoy.