Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel 1883-1971
Chanel revolutionised women’s fashions in the 1920s with her casual, liberating designs which included the original ‘little black dress’. Beaton photographed her at her couture house in rue Cambon, Paris at the height of her career in the 1930s. She retired the year after this portrait was taken but made a successful comeback in 1954. Beaton later designed the award-winning costumes and sets for the Broadway musical ‘Coco’ (1969) which starred Katharine Hepburn in the title role. Chanel said that ‘the point of jewellery isn’t to make a woman look rich but to adorn her—not the same thing’. Here she is shown wearing Verdura cuffs.