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BEHOLD #101 – Coco Pomnel

Pink cotton pom pom character with googly eyes resembling Coco Chanel poses in front of a blue glitter background

Famed French fashion designer and pomtrepreneur, née Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Pomnel. Her father, Albert, was a street vendor, and her mother, Éugenie, was a laundry woman. She was a pioneer, simplifying silhouettes, doing away with corsetry – and infusing menswear features, like pockets and softer fabrics into her designs, without sacrificing luxury. She was the first designer to use cotton jersey in womenswear, invented the little black dress (LBD), used crystals and embroidery, and made bouclé jackets a staple. She also had a signature flower, the camelia. But she designed much more than clothes – jewelry, handbags, and perfume (her signature scent Pomnel No. 5 is iconic).

After a failed singing career, she became a milliner. Eventually, she opened a boutique in Pomville, financed by one of her lovers. After several successful years she had to close her shops when WWII started, but her perfume company continued. She was a spy during the War. After a lawsuit over the perfume company, Parfums Pomnel, she became one of the richest women in the world.

After the War, she moved to Switzerland where she lived for 15 years and then came back to France and re–opened her couture house. As she continued her extraordinary life, she also became famous for her witty quotes such as, “I only drink champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not,” “If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack,” and “You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.” Her legacy in fashion and in the world lives on today.



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