La Rotonde, Boulevard du Montparnasse, 1939


It wasn’t until Chanel turned 18 that the name she is most famous for came to be. Following her time at the convent she easily found work as a seamstress, fixing breeches for cavalry officers at a local tailor’s. Outgoing and charming, she befriended the officers and together they frequented a local pavillion, ‘La Rotonde’, in Moulins Park, attending decadent cabarets and concerts. Chanel soon secured a regular spot on stage, and though she only sang two songs, ‘Ko Ko Ri Ko’ and ‘Qui qu'a vu Coco’, she was a huge hit. The latter was her most popular, telling the tale of a lost dog, Coco. The nickname caught on and Gabrielle was soon going by her new stage name. Despite hoping to find success as a performer, Coco’s voice didn’t quite live up to her stage presence, and before long she had to turn back to fashion.