Chanel is a French fashion house that specialises in high fashion, and was established in 1909 in Paris. Offering accessories, luxury goods, ready-to-wear lines and haute couture, the Chanel brand has become synonymous with quality and style.
Gabrielle Chanel - more commonly known as Coco - originally opened a millinery shop in Paris, in the ground floor of the flat belonging to the man whose mistress she was at the time. In 1910 she was able to open her own independent shop, but was restricted to hats because of an existing dress shop in the area. It wasn't until a few years later that Chanel started to become known for its clothing lines.
While fashions in the 19th century were more elaborate, Coco Chanel catered for a market that was looking for simple elegance. Producing clothing that is both flattering and comfortable as well as stylish, the Chanel brand has gained a number of celebrity fans including Marilyn Monroe, Vanessa Paradis and Nicole Kidman.
In addition to its clothing lines (including the Chanel Suit and the little black dress with which the brand has become synonymous), the Chanel brand also produces a range of fragrances. By far the best known and most iconic is Chanel No. 5, with others such as Allure and Coco Mademoiselle also popular.
Chanel also produce a range of cosmetics and skin care products, available around the world, along with its High Jewellery range which was founded in 1932. The company also started a division to produce and sell watches in 1987, and the bags handbags, often featuring quilted leather and double chains, have also gained significant popularity.