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This year, International Women’s Day is geared towards campaigning for a more gender-balanced world, with the theme #BalanceforBetter. Celebrating the achievements of both genders within the business world, it’s important that women gain just as much recognition as their male counterparts.
It’s something that women have been fighting for over the last century; and while it feels like we have come a long way, we still have further to go. At Perfume Direct, the fragrances we stock are perfect for making you feel confident and instilling you with that mood boost you need to go out and achieve the best. Your fragrance is a signature of who you are, and it is one of the most important accessories you can wear.
With that in mind, we want to celebrate some of the most influential women in the fashion and beauty industry. While they have already gained worldwide recognition and achievements, it’s important that we remember them in the hope that it inspires the next generation of women to stand up and achieve their dreams, no matter what.
Here is part 1 of our series, looking at some of the entrepreneurial women from the past.
She may seem like an obvious choice for iconic women from history, but Coco Chanel is the perfect example of how you can make the best for yourself, even from humble beginnings.
Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, she was the daughter of peasant and a street vendor; she was actually born in a poorhouse. After her mother died, she was swiftly sent off to an orphanage that was run by nuns. It was here that she learnt to embroider, iron and sew.
As she grew up, she began designing hats, before eventually opening her first shop in Paris in 1913. By the 1920s, she had introduced the world to the Little Black Dress.
Her iconic fragrance, Chanel No 5, was released in 1921 and it was the first fragrance to bear the name of the designer. Coco Chanel was renowned for breaking, and transforming, the rules. She designed clothing that was the very opposite to the tight, corset styles of the time; and she even shortened hemlines in an era where they were traditionally long.
Today, Chanel fragrances continue to embody Coco’s elegance, with sophisticated and timeless scents that set the standard.
You might know the name Elizabeth Arden as a skincare and beauty brand, but she was also a woman, born in 1878. Her full name was Florence Nightingale Graham, and she was responsible for the Elizabeth Arden brand you know and love today. Opening the door to the first Red Door salon on Fifth Avenue in 1910, Elizabeth Arden was responsible for introducing many firsts to the American population at the time.
Persistent in bringing a scientific approach to skincare, she created products that benefitted the skin, as opposed to simply masking it. Elizabeth Arden was the first to introduce eye makeup to the women of America, and even founded the concept of the makeover.
It was Elizabeth Arden who created the first travel-size beauty products, and she was the first in the cosmetics industry to send out teams of demonstrators and saleswomen to sell the products.
The range of Elizabeth Arden fragrances now captures the simple but beautiful essence of this popular skincare brand.
Jeanne Lanvin was born in 1867 and was the eldest of 11 children. From an early age she began working, earning her first wage at the age of 13 working for a milliner in Paris. She started a milliner’s apprenticeship, eventually creating her own hat. Jeanne opened her own hat shop when was only 22, and 4 years’ later she created her eponymous fashion house, Lanvin.
She eventually gave birth to a daughter, who became her muse, and Jeanne began creating a luxurious wardrobe for her. This was quickly noticed by her friends’ mothers, who consequently became customers of Lanvin.
Jeanne was the first to launch a children’s fashion line, and also the first to offer a made-to-measure men’s collection. In 1909, she became a member of the Parisian Fashion Council, which incidentally changed her status from a milliner to a designer. As both a mother and a businesswoman, Jeanne was often left feeling out of place in the elite circles of Parisian couture.
In 1927, Jeanne launched the Arpège fragrance for her daughter as a birthday present. She then continued to regularly open new departments under her brand to meet the needs of the evolving society around her, and in 1933 she was the first to create a mixed eau de toilette.