September 22, 2023
Name Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel
Net Worth $5 million (at the time of her death)
Sources of Income Fashion designing, perfume brand, entrepreneurship
Gender Female
Date of Birth August 19, 1883 – January 10, 1971
Age 87 years old
Nationality French
Profession Fashion Designer, perfumer


French fashion designer Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel (1883 – 1971) | Getty Images | Hulton Archive


Legendary French fashion designer, also known for the fragrances she introduced over a career stretching beyond five decades, Coco Chanel minted a $5 million net worth by the time of her death in 1971. Adjusted for inflation, the amount is now equivalent to approximately $40 million, which reflects her financial success after a struggle as an orphan and cafe singer, as per CelebrityNetWorth. As a shopgirl, she made wealthy connections and got one of them to invest in her first business. But her mingling with powerful people backfired when her reputation was hit by a German diplomat after the Nazis had occupied France. Today the brand she created is owned by the billionaire Wertheimer brothers and counts celebs such as Nicole Kidman, Kate Blanchett, and Kirsten Stewart among its clients.

Coco Chanel’s primary sources of income were her contributions to the fashion industry through the Chanel brand, which became synonymous with timeless elegance and sophistication. Apart from designing apparel, hats, accessories, and jewelry, she also launched perfumes created in her lab and sought after globally.

As an entrepreneur with creative pursuits, Coco Chanel wasn’t restricted to a fixed salary. Her business acumen and design innovations propelled her brand to heights, which is delivering lucrative returns for its owners even today.

Creations by Coco Chanel Being Sold at Auction | Getty Images
Creations by Coco Chanel Being Sold at Auction | Getty Images

Chanel’s entrepreneurial journey included opening boutiques in Deauville and Biarritz, which were met with immense success. In Paris, she established her fashion boutique, featuring a wide range of clothing, accessories, and fragrances. In the 1920s, Coco Chanel ventured into designing dance costumes for the Ballets Russes, forging a connection with composer Igor Stravinsky. In 1922, her Chanel No. 5 perfume caught the attention of Théophile Bader, founder of Paris Galeries Lafayette, leading to the creation of Parfums Chanel with Pierre Wertheimer as majority owner.

During the war, Wertheimer placed the business under a Nazi-friendly proxy owner and accusations of collaboration forced Chanel into exile in Switzerland. After the war, a settlement was reached in 1947, with Wertheimer paying her $400,000, a 2% royalty from Chanel No. 5 sales, and a monthly stipend, in return for her 10% stake in Parfums Chanel, and rights to her own name.

Jersey suit, models by Gabrielle Chanel published in magazine
Jersey suit, models by Gabrielle Chanel published in magazine “Les elegances parisiennes”, | Getty Images | Apic


Chanel’s distinction as the sole designer to secure a spot on “Time” magazine’s prestigious list of the 100 most influential individuals of the 20th century underscores her indelible impact.

The universally recognized Chanel No. 5 fragrance and the renowned interlocked-CC monogram adorning her clothing, footwear, and handbag designs have achieved iconic status. Chanel’s contributions to the fashion industry were recognized with the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in 1957. She is the only designer to be listed on “Time” magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Coco Chanel (1883 - 1971) in her apartment at the Hotel Ritz Paris, circa 1960 | Getty Images)
Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971) in her apartment at the Hotel Ritz Paris, circa 1960 | Getty Images)

Coco Chanel had romantic involvements with notable figures like Arthur Capel, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, and composer Igor Stravinsky. Her friendships with individuals like Misia Sert enriched her personal life. Tragically, she passed away on January 10, 1971, at the age of 87, in her beloved Hotel Ritz in Paris. Her funeral drew models, fashion designers, and admirers from around the globe.

What was Coco Chanel’s net worth at the time of her death?

Coco Chanel’s net worth was approximately $5 million when she passed away in 1971.

What was Coco Chanel’s first design?

It was a dress that she fashioned out of an old jersey.

Did Coco Chanel win any awards?

She won the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award.