Today in History: Fashion legend, Coco Chanel

Today is the birthday of one of the most influential icons in women’s fashion. She gave us the “little black dress,” Chanel No. 5, and a host of timeless innovations that changed the way the world thinks about fashion. She’s the only fashion designer who’s listed as one of TIME’s “Most Important People of the Century.”

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”

Coco Chanel

Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel on August 19, 1883, “Coco” was an independent, ambitious woman with a strong sense of style and scandalous life that only heightened her popular mystique.

She challenged the conventions of the day and liberated the elaborate, restrictive trends in women’s clothing by advocating natural materials and comfortable designs.

Her legacy was in inspiring people to think about fashion not merely as a superficial fad, but a means of expressing a person’s real identity in a way that makes them feel confident about themselves.

“The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.”

Check out this gallery at VOGUE featuring some of her best-known styles and most famous quotes:

VOGUE: Mademoiselle Coco Speaks