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Lessons on life and beauty from the master herself.
Written By Jayme Cyk
Maintenance Rules by Coco Chanel | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey

MADEMOISELLE CHANEL IN THE STAIRCASE AT 31 RUE CAMBON, 1954. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT DOISNEAU / RAPHO

No matter where you venture, or what language you speak, one name is universally synonymous with fashion and beauty: Chanel. So it’s fitting that the house’s venerable founder, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, remains among the world’s most quotable women. Indeed, while Coco herself was known for her austere lifestyle and streamlined, no-frills aesthetic, the fashion pioneer always had a way with words, and plenty of pearls to dispense. As the designer who single-handedly liberated women from the post–World War I corseting craze, Chanel placed a premium not only on looks, but also on women’s inner lives and beauty. Here, just a few maxims from the master on the themes, of life, love, luxury—and, of course, style. 

COCO CHANEL’S
RULES OF
ENGAGEMENT

Coco Chanel's Rules of Engagement | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
  • CHANEL IN FRONT OF 31 RUE CAMBON, 1962
    PHOTO COURTESY OF CHANEL

I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little—if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with DESTINY. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.

— COCO CHANEL

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A woman
can be
overdressed,
but
NEVER
over elegant.
– COCO CHANEL
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If you are sad,
if you have a heartache—put
on lipstick and ATTACK.

— COCO CHANEL
  
A PORTRAIT OF MADEMOISELLE CHANEL, 1962 
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOUGLAS Kirkland / Corbis

Coco Chanel's Rules of Engagement | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
Coco Chanel Rules of Engagement: CHANEL SMOKING ON A DIVAN, 1937 
PHOTOGRAPHY BY HORST P. HORST | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
  • CHANEL SMOKING ON A DIVAN, 1937 
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY HORST P. HORST / COURTESY OF CONDE NAST / CORBIS 

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty.
Life sculpts your face at thirty. But it’s up to YOU
to earn the face you have at fifty.

— COCO CHANEL

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You should
perfume
yourself
wherever
you want to
be KISSED.
– COCO CHANEL
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Maintenance Rules by Coco Chanel | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
  • CHANEL WITH HER DOG, 1930.
    PHOTO COURTESY OF CHANEL 
  • CHANEL ON A YACHT IN THE LIDO, 1936.
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY V.H. GRANDPIERRE / COURTESY OF VOGUE PARIS

Fashion changes, but style endures.

— COCO CHANEL

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Stylishness
is a
conquest
of the
MIND over
the senses.
– COCO CHANEL
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The face is a
mirror that shows
the movements
of the inner life:
give it the
UTMOST care.

— COCO CHANEL 
 
 Chanel and her ICONIC pearl necklace, 1936 
 PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROGER-VIOLLET / LIPNITZKI

Maintenance Rules by Coco Chanel | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey

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CHANEL HAS
ARRIVED