Do You Know the Story Behind Chanel's Interlocking C Logo?

Is there a fashion logo more instantly recognisable than Chanel's interlocking Cs? But while we can all spot a pair of the fashion house's earrings or one of the classic quilted bags in minutes, could you reel off the story of the logo just as quickly? 

A common assumption is that it's Coco Chanel’s initials simply reversed and intertwined (though the designer’s real name was Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel), there’s actually a bit more to it than that. The prevailing theory is that the logo was first conceived by the designer in 1925, some 15 years after first setting up her business. It’s said that Chanel came up with the logo following a visit to the Château de Crémat—a castle in Nice, France—where she often attended parties hosted by friend and socialite Irene Bretz.

The Story Behind the Chanel Logo: Coco Chanel wearing her signature pearls



Coco Chanel

The Château de Crémat, which you can still visit today if you’re keen for a little fashion history up close, has a set of vaulted arches decorated with beautiful stained glass windows. It’s the intricate artwork in these very windows that are said to have inspired the famous logo.

Featuring a series of geometric patterns and intertwined circles, the window has even been cited by the fashion house itself as the most likely source of inspiration for its now iconic interlocking C logo. How’s that for architecture inspiring fashion?

Interlocking Cs at the Château de Crémat

Today, the emblem is as timeless as ever and doesn't seem to be losing it's appeal—if anything it's only more popular. It's no stretch so say that everyone in fashion lusts over at least one of Chanel's pieces that feature the Cs. While the earrings and bags will always remain on our shopping lists, there are plenty of other ways it's being used today. From swimming costumes to mules and sneakers, there's no end to how this iconic logo is used. 

Before you shop some of the latest Chanel pieces, plus some classic vintage, we've found some of the ingenious ways the logo has been used over the years, as well as the more modern application. 

The Story Behind the Chanel Logo: Princess Diana in a Chanel suit with C buttons



Style Notes: Princess Diana wears a Chanel suit with buttons featuring the interlocking Cs.

The Story Behind the Chanel Logo: Naomi Campbell on Chanel catwalk in 1994



Style Notes: Naomi Campbell walks the Chanel show in October 1994 carrying a box bag featuring the logo. 

The Story Behind the Chanel Logo: Chanel skates



Style Notes: These Chanel roller skates are enough to persuade us to take up skating. 

The Story Behind the Chanel Logo: Chanel belt from 1996 show



Style Notes: March 1996 Chanel show featuring a CC belt. 

The Story Behind the Chanel Logo: Chanel sneakers



Style Notes: The Chanel sneakers have become a big hit on the street style circuit. 

Style Notes: One of the latest ways of using the interlocking Cs—on a summery one-shoulder top. 

Style Notes: We've noticed this everywhere on Instagram lately and every time we see it we want it even more. 

So chic for the beach, although we're not sure we'd dare get sand on this. 

One of the more recent updates of the Chanel belt. 

The latest mules from the fashion house. 

Look to vintage sites for certified Chanel pieces. 

We don't see these brown versions of the quilted bag often, so snap it up quick. 

The Chanel brooch is always a winner to make any outfit look immediately expensive. 

Susan Caplan sources some of the best pieces of vintage jewellery around. 

They might be from the '90s but these will still look modern. 

Up next, see the Chanel “dad” sandals that are perfect for summer.

Opening Image: @pernilleteisbaek

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Elinor Block. 

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