Filed under: Cosmetics and Fragrance
For a beauty and fashion conglomerate whose founder distained fragrances, Chanel has had quite a run. "Women perfume themselves only to hide bad smells," said Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, shortly after founding her eponymous company.
That was 1909. A century later the iconic Chanel No. 5 is not only Chanel's flagship fragrance, but one of the most recognizable products in the world. Today, the Chanel empire (LINK: www.chanel.com ) spans cosmetics, haute couture, jewelry and swimwear. The company boasts more than 160 boutiques and seven ateliers (through subsidiary Paraffection) across the globe, from Paris and New York to Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Though Coco herself has long since passed on, the company's creative vision comes from head designer and creative director Karl Lagerfeld. Billionaires Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, grandsons of Coco's original business partner Pierre Wertheimer, continue to control the corporate side of Chanel, which takes in an estimated $3 billion or so in annual revenue.