What is beauty? What does it mean to be feminine, especially when there are countless social expectations and standards against women’s aesthetic? When the question of the true beauty arises under all the oppressions and norms, we must think of the one who opened up new door for women : Coco Chanel. There is no more reason for us women to be suppressed under a petticoat and locked up in a corset, because ”beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself”, said Coco Chanel. Once you see how Coco Chanel has changed the societal and cultural views towards women, you will have no doubt but agree that Coco Chanel is relevantly significant and suitable figure for the Fifth Greatest Leader.
Coco Chanel, by name of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, was a French fashion designer who revolutionized and created a new chapter of women’s wear with her timeless designs. Chanel was born in the countryside of France into poverty. Chanel’s mother passed away in her early childhood, and her father abandoned her which easily set the hardships in the early stage of her life. Chanel worked as a cafe singer and opened a tiny millinery shop in France, which eventually led her to walk in the career of fashion design.
Among her classic fashionable innovations, the most famously known items are the Chanel Suit, little black dress, quilted purse and the iconic Chanel No.5 Perfume. Chanel’s elegant and casual design was inspired by her dream to get rid of the complicated and uncomfortable women’s clothes, that were prevalent in 19th century. Chanel believed that being comfortable is the top priority of luxury, otherwise it must not be considered luxurious. This belief motivated Chanel to revolutionize the fashion industry by emphasizing simplicity and convenience, which is the fundamental beliefs of her brand and eventually liberated women from the social standards and expectations upon them.
The reason why Coco Chanel must be the fifth greatest leader is because she completely changed how society viewed women, as well as how women viewed themselves. The new fashion trend of women’s clothes created by Chanel’s business and design makes connection on to a larger picture in the early 20th century where women’s rights movement for voting and the spread of feminism in the North America. Chanel and her brand has left great cultural significance and had impactful influence by paving a new way of women’s clothes and providing liberation for women from the social norms and the tyranny of the corset. The legacy Chanel has left in our society is that her and her designs greatly contributed to the cultural independence of women, especially where she introduced pants into women’s clothes. Many people recognize Chanel as an iconic leader not just because her brand’s products are made with the highest quality materials but also because her contribution to the society and women’s rights, where the impacts made by her is present until now and even more in the future.