The History of the Chanel Logo
Oh, those Chanel C’s. There must be a history of the Chanel logo, especially as a logo 99.999999% of women recognize (and start to salivate just looking at), it’s those trademark Chanel interlocking, opposed C’s. Those C’s mean many things to many people—try the obvious (“Coco Chanel”), and the not-so-obvious (“Come to Mama!” Or maybe that’s an obvious one?). Those C’s are the entire history of the label, boiled down to just two loving, interlocking letters—the symbol means luxury, style, and intrigue.
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel designed the now-infamous logo for the house of fashion in 1925, just 15 years after she started her line. Those two-interlocking and opposing C’s have remained the same ever since. Admittedly, Coco Chanel was not the first strong, influential woman to use interlocking C’s as a symbol—French Queen Claude used a similar symbol at the Chateau Royal de Blois, and her daughter-in-law Catherine de Medici did the same after marrying into the French royal family.
Popular lore has several theories for Chanel’s inspiration for the logo—1) it came from the interlocking C’s found on the stained glass windows of the Château Crémat in Nice, 2) it can be found in the geometric patterns found in the stained glass windows of the Chapel of Aubazine, a monastery/abbey where Chanel spent a good portion of her childhood, or 3) it was an amalgamation of the initials of Coco Chanel and Arthur “Boy” Capel, who was the love of Chanel’s life and a founding business partner in the house of Chanel (although Chanel herself later paid him back for the investment). Really, between everything there’s strong women, a tragic childhood, love (that was eventually lost), and beauty in faith—concepts which seem entirely Chanel.
Whatever the reasoning or inspiration behind it, the Chanel logo is only of those instantly recognizable symbols. Even people who have zero sense of the brand’s influence in fashion are usually able to decipher the brand from the logo—if that isn’t a clear indication of the fashion house’s place in society and it’s obviously successful marketing, I don’t know what is. One thing is for sure—women all over can spot even the smallest, making it the Chanel logo historical and most recognizable even from a hundred yards. It’s an ingrained gift, is it not?
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written by Heather Cox for Rice and Beans Vintage.