"Coco" Chanel never vied for the spotlight. Before her formidable fame she wasn’t a fashion aristocrat nor was she a socialite. She was impoverished. Orphaned. She was penniless and without any formal "authority" for leadership. Yet it was leadership that made her a legend. Coco revolutionized fashion and built an empire. What made this unlikely empress an enormous success (net worth $4.5 billion)? Her unshakeable integrity.
When the market called for something other than Coco’s genius, she didn’t trade-off. She stayed 100% loyal to her ingenuity. At a time when women were socially applauded for wearing brimmed hats and trailing skirts, Coco dressed like a man. At a time when fashionable hairstyle and clothing made you relevant, Coco shamelessly revealed a boyish figure and cropped hair. Maintaining her integrity, meant standing out and apart. Not easy for anyone. Coco was a diamond in the rough when the rough was clearly favored. Yet this genius innovator refused to allow critics, peers, and onlookers to form her character and define her success. Coco maintained absolute integrity. She audaciously refused to betray her voice and vision.
Obviously falling in line would have provided necessities for Coco, but she maintained the fortitude to stand by her personal convictions. Coco began to design on her own terms. Innovation with bravura. She engineered with integrity and the fortune followed. Over the next few decades the brand name Chanel became and has remained one of the most powerful in fashion. 100 years after opening her first boutique, Chanel is not only a global business, it’s an empire. Coco didn’t allow anyone or anything to "turn her around."