Chanel is a French fashion house founded by the couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, well established in haute couture, specializing in luxury goods (haute couture, ready-to-wear, handbags, perfumery, and cosmetics among others).
She gained the name "Coco" while maintaining a career as a singer at a café in France. Chanel has catered to tastes in items such as simple suits, dresses, women's pants, and costume jewelry. Coco Chanel's vision was to replace such opulent, 'sexy' pieces with items which conveyed casual elegance. Today, Chanel is most famous for the "little black dress".
According to Forbes, the privately held House of Chanel is jointly owned by Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer who are the great-grandsons of the early (1924) Chanel partner Pierre Wertheimer.
The company has had many high-profile celebrities as spokesmodels, including Inès de la Fressange, Catherine Deneuve (1970s and 1980s Chanel No. 5 spokesmodel), Carole Bouquet (1990s Chanel No. 5 spokesmodel), Vanessa Paradis (spokesmodel for Coco Perfume), Nicole Kidman (early 2000s Chanel No. 5 spokesmodel), Anna Mouglalis (2006 Chanel Allure Sensuelle spokesmodel), Audrey Tautou (current Chanel No.5 spokesmodel), Keira Knightley (current spokesmodel for Coco Mademoiselle), and most famously, Marilyn Monroe (1950s Chanel No. 5 spokesmodel) pictured splashing herself with Chanel No. 5. The image is certainly the most famous of all Chanel advertisements, and continues to be one of the most popular advertisement photos in the history of marketing, used in countless biographies, and still selling in large quantities as a poster and art piece using Marilyn Monroe as the model.