Arthur "Boy" Capel Coco Chanel

Fashion designer, Coco Chanel is well known around the world for her fabulous fashion line worn by all the A-list celebrities. What many people don’t realise is, Coco (who’s real name is Gabrielle) was raised in an orphanage which is where she was taught her sewing skills.

After having a brief career as a singer she became friends with, Etienne Balsan and stayed with him just outside of Paris where she lived as a “kept woman” in his mansion, and this is where she began to mingle with Balsans wealthy companions and this is when she met a man who would change her life forever, Arthur “Boy” Capel.

Arthur Capel

English born Arthur Capel was a ship-owner, politician, tycoon and polo player but today he is better known for his 9 year love affair with Coco Chanel. Boy was a wealthy self-made man and he supplied Chanel with financial backing, and his blazers very much inspired Coco’s classic designs as his style inspired her to put a squared masculine touch on her classic clothing styles.

Coco Chanel - Arthur & Hurley inspired jackets

If it wasn’t for Arthur’s money or style then Chanel would never had had the funds or fashion muse to make what is one of the most well-known designer brands in the world. Today the Chanel style inspiration is very much alive in retailers such as Hurley, a clothing store who offer a selection of classic designer clothing for men and women.

Diesel Denim Double Breasted Jersey Blazer 2013

This Diesel blazer very much symbolises what Cocos inspired Arthur style stood for with the masculinity of the classic blazer with the comfort of the jersey material. Image from Hurley.

Arthur tragically died in a car crash in 1919 and it is said that it was while he was travelling to see Coco for a Christmas rendezvous. After his death Coco began wearing black during her grieving process and she told a friend that the world would mourn with her which is where the ‘little black dress’ evolved from, and why black is no longer tied in hand with association with death but more with elegance and class.

Kanye West Chanel Black Jacket by Karl Largerfield

Kanye West in a Chanel Black Jacket designed by Karl Lagerfeld

Today there is a more modern version of the LBD in the form of a ‘little black jacket’ which is designed as a unisex jacket to be sold to both men and women without it making you look too masculine or feminine, and here Kanye West is modelling the famous LBJ for Chanels latest book, ‘Chanel Little Black Jacket Book’.

Coco Chanel – The Movie

A movie called Coco before Chanel was brought out in 2009 about her upbringing and love affair with, Boy and here you can see a great insight into how Coco was inspired by Arthur’s classic and iconic style! Watch the trailer here: