Mademoiselle... This is how Gabrielle Chanel was addressed throughout her life. It was an unconventional choice, but one that conveyed her sense of freedom and modernity. Mademoiselle had love stories yet never married. She clung to her maiden name, flouting conventions of her time. She was, and remains, Mademoiselle Chanel, mistress of her own life, writing her own legend through the years.

With this “Mademoiselle”, Gabrielle could turn her story around; the orphaned girl from a poor background became a demoiselle, a “young lady.” This mark of respect extended to the door of her studio, which carried a sign saying “Mademoiselle Privé”.


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