If art indeed has its basis in life, then Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel has given us plenty to work with. Consider, for instance, the luminous string of actresses who have portrayed her on stage and screen over the course of the past four decades: Audrey Tautou, Katharine Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine. And like the lady of the hour, their talent was unmistakable, incandescent, one-of-a-kind.Chanel's name first transformed, then epitomized, the luxury womenswear market in the 20th century, with thousands of 2.55-toting pilgrims journeying to her quarters at 31 Rue Cambon since her death in 1971. But the designer—born 128 years ago —did not always operate from a position of privilege.
READ MORE by Marissa Chen