Chanel S.A. is a French, privately held company owned by Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer, who was an early business partner of the couturière Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. Chanel S.A. is a high fashion house that specializes in haute couture and ready-to-wear clothes, luxury goods and fashion accessories. In her youth, Gabrielle Chanel gained the nickname Coco from her time as a chanteuse. As a fashion designer, Coco Chanel catered to women’s taste for elegance in dress, with blouses and suits, trousers and dresses, and jewellry (gemstone and bijouterie) of simple design, that replaced the opulent, over-designed, and constrictive clothes and accessories of 19th-century fashion. The Chanel product brands have been personified by fashion models and actresses, including Inès de La Fressange, Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Vanessa Paradis, Nicole Kidman, Anna Mouglalis, Audrey Tautou, Keira Knightley and Marilyn Monroe.
The House of Chanel is known for the “little black dress”, the perfume No. 5 de Chanel, and the Chanel Suit. Chanel’s use of jersey fabric produced garments that were comfortable and affordable. Chanel revolutionized fashion — high fashion (haute couture) and everyday fashion (prêt-à-porter) — by replacing structured-silhouettes, based upon the corset and the bodice, with garments that were functional and at the same time flattering to the woman’s figure.