Note To Self
Harper's Bazaar Malaysia|September 2017

If Coco was her character, Gabrielle could be considered the author. Now a new fragrance—Chanel’s first in 15 years— sets the story straight.

Eugenie Kelly
Among the nuggets of truth, there's also a hefty dose of mystery associated with the rags-to-riches story of Coco Chanel. Probably due to the countless films, biographies, and even picture books she inspired. Talk about page-turning stuff. Daddy's disappearing act. Orphanage upbringing. A fashion genius intent on creating her own fortune. The femme fatale with a weakness for incorrigible womanisers. You couldn't script this plot twister if you tried.

Even the name Coco seems straight out of a Disney film. Just as one of her flawlessly constructed jackets would be pieced together, taken apart, and restitched, it was a nickname she embraced professionally somewhat reluctantly from about the age of 30, when she started to become a household name. It was part of her brand. As she famously declared, "I have chosen the person I want to be and am."

Officially speaking, she was baptised Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, her mother, Eugenie, having named her after a nun who worked in the poorhouse hospice where she was delivered in rural France in 1883. Only those closest to her were granted permission to call her Coco in her presence. For everyone else—the seamstresses who worked for her, say—it was Mademoiselle.

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