Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel .

And this is only the first of countless tricks that life has played on me.

Where I come from, Bonheur means Happiness; just me who has always fought to be one and, instead, I managed to be in love, idolized even but "Happy" always and only in name.

I'm French but not the Parisian you'd expect: I was born in Saumur, on August 19, under the sign of Leo.

Maman died of tuberculosis when I was just a child and Papa, a street vendor, preferred to deliver me to the care of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

I waited for him every Sunday until I was eighteen; maybe that's why I hate the day of the Lord, in Rue Cambon they don't even let me work!

I have very few memories of dad but the image of him approaching my little head is still clear in my mind: I was hoping for a kiss while he just wanted to check that I had washed my hair.

He hated all kinds of smells and so I created The Most Sprayed Perfume in History.

The nuns loved me, raised me on prayers and pincushions; when i got too big to stay i became a seamstress: i sewed hems by day and sang in café chantant by night.

It is there, between cigarette smoke and cologne, that Coco was reborn.

<Qui qu'a - Qui qu'a vu Coco?>

I sang about a little dog lost at the Trocadéro, I sang that refrain so many times that I got confused with him and, like him, I never found myself either.

Balzan has been trying to find me for a while.

I met Etienne one evening at the Café, in my eyes as an enfant fatale - fatal child - he was ugly, old, rich but also tender and protective.

I moved to his estate near Paris as soon as I had the opportunity: there I learned to ride, to devour books (I haven't stopped yet and I have the habit of having them bound with my double C logo), to make hats without feathers and fralalà for his lovers and, above all, I met Love.

I had to understand immediately that it was fate that tested me again and that he looked at me with a grin as I shook Arthur's hand. I never wanted to grow up, I remained the little girl of the Orphanage even when I was dressing the Hollywood Divas and I fell in love with an Englishman who got rich off coal whom everyone called "Boy".

My Boyfriend was handsome, cultured, generous and married.

Thanks to him I saw the sea, I opened my first boutique in Deauville, I fell in love, I lost a son and I cried.

A car accident took him away from me and nothing was ever the same.

After him I tried: Russian tycoons; musicians like Stravinsky; artists like Dali; I have had relationships with women; I almost got married to Iribe, who is also dead (poor Paul!) but love, after Boy, has always been only with a small a.

We continued to talk however, he sends me messages through my psychic friends: at home, in the life I have called "La Pausa", I organize sessions to feel close to him.

It can only be him because he tells me things that only we knew.

When the pain is too much and I can't bear it, I throw myself headlong into morphine syringes and work: without Love I can survive, without Work no!

I have opened other boutiques, the sale of Perfume is unstoppable, I have it sprayed everywhere: in the dressing rooms, on the handkerchiefs, on the sales assistants, everything that concerns me must leave the N 5 trail.

Five like the number of the bouquet I chose to perfume everyone, even Marilyn, unlucky in love and copied like me.

I get a haircut and everyone gets a haircut, I wear jewelry and everyone puts away their diamonds.

I survived two wars, the Spanish one, the strikes of my employees. I have closed the shops more than once. I was exiled to Switzerland because they thought I was a spy - Idiots! but I never stopped creating and, at the age of seventy, I returned to free women once again from those horrible A-line skirts that Mr. Dior likes so much!

My name is Gabrielle Coco Chanel.

But you call me Mademoiselle.

I closed my eyes for the last time at eighty-eight on a cold January day - Sunday of course!

but I still live in your pants - it's thanks to me that you wear them!

in the drops of my perfume,

in little black dresses,

in red lipsticks - never go out without!

in faux pearls - because jewelry is to make you look prettier not richer!

in striped T-shirts - I remember the sailors I first saw with Arthur,

in golden buttons with lions - my zodiac sign and the symbol of Venice, my favorite city

and in the rhombuses at 2.55 which, I know, are the BAGS of your dreams come true or to come true!

Work hard, kick open the doors if you find them closed, demand Love and don't get tired of trying, be elegantly free and, if you happen to suffer, always do it in style.

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