Coco Chanel: The Pioneer of Modern Elegance with Estela Mendes

Coco Chanel: The Pioneer of Modern Elegance with Estela Mendes


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Today, Chanel is synonymous with luxury and elegance. It is hard to imagine the poverty Gabrielle Chanel came from. If there is a story of a self-made woman, this is one. From an orphanage to the Ritz in Paris, Gabrielle paved her way for a better life. Her willingness to survive in a world ruled by rich men led her to look for talent within her. From singer in a cafe to a milliner, Gabrielle Chanel paved her way to becoming one of the most important names in fashion history. This conversation is about the story of a polemic woman who understood and transformed the world around her.

At the turn of the century, there were very few opportunities for a poor young woman to change her condition. Aspirations were few and marrying a wealthy man, or at least being his mistress would be the best outcome. But Gabrielle Chanel wanted more for herself: an independent life. Not knowing how she was going to “make it”, she knew she had to. She soon learned how to use men instead of being used by men. We’ll learn that it was through their social network and financial investment that Gabrielle Chanel created her business. From milliner to “fashion designer”, this woman became an extraordinary entrepreneur, understanding her customer and the world that surrounded her.

We’ll discuss how by investing in her skills as a dressmaker and her unique aesthetic sense, Coco Chanel created a new fashion. Using new materials and understanding the new dynamic of women’s lives in the first half of the twentieth century, Chanel created clothes and accessories that we still use today. Her personal life is so rich that everyone who was someone in the first half of the twentieth century is part of her story. From friendships and collaborations with the most famous artists to love affairs with important men, and betrayal of her country during Nazi occupation. This is the story of a complex woman in a complex world.

The Chanel that came from poverty became the one who dictated the rules of elegance to the rich. Coco Chanel redefined the concept of elegance for the Modern World and became the ultimate word in luxury. This conversation will leave you wanting to know more about the formidable character that was Gabrielle Chanel.

Estela Mendes is an art historian with a MA in Museum Studies. Her research background is in Costume Design. Born and raised in Lisbon, she has been teaching about the beauty of the world for the past 15 years. After working in national palaces in Portugal, Estela moved to London where she spent 5 years working at museums like Buckingham Palace, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery, where she has delivered gallery talks focusing on Fashion. In Portugal she created a company of Costume Hiring and Historical Re-enactments working with Museums, Opera Companies, Theatre, and Film.

Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content)

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
86%
(12)
7%
(1)
7%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
B
B.A.f.M.
Estella Does it again: Brings Coco Channel and her world to life in pictures and words!

Estela Mendes does meticulous research and then really perfectly curates the images and organizes the storyline so that all we have to do is sit back and learn. I really appreciated hearing about Coco Chanel's early life and influences and then being the way Estela could point out how those influences carried through to her later style choices and fashion design. Really an enjoyable lecture. So well done. Thank you!

H
H.Y.

Guest did not leave comment

R
R.D.
All about Coco

There was so many things that I learned about Coco Chanel starting from her life as a child
.....I found it all very interesting...... , particularly how resourceful and determined she was from a very young age !

A
A.

Great presentation. Estela was a very good presenter.

S
S.G.

Excellent and thorough seminar on Coco Chanel. Had no idea of the many things she had to overcome before she achieved her many successes!!

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
86%
(12)
7%
(1)
7%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
B
B.A.f.M.
Estella Does it again: Brings Coco Channel and her world to life in pictures and words!

Estela Mendes does meticulous research and then really perfectly curates the images and organizes the storyline so that all we have to do is sit back and learn. I really appreciated hearing about Coco Chanel's early life and influences and then being the way Estela could point out how those influences carried through to her later style choices and fashion design. Really an enjoyable lecture. So well done. Thank you!

H
H.Y.

Guest did not leave comment

R
R.D.
All about Coco

There was so many things that I learned about Coco Chanel starting from her life as a child
.....I found it all very interesting...... , particularly how resourceful and determined she was from a very young age !

A
A.

Great presentation. Estela was a very good presenter.

S
S.G.

Excellent and thorough seminar on Coco Chanel. Had no idea of the many things she had to overcome before she achieved her many successes!!