Chanel S.A., commonly known as Chanel, is a French fashion house founded by the couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, recognized as one of the most 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 always specialized 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. Her designs and creations are timeless, considering that the basic silhouettes have remained consistent from generation to generation. 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 Catherine Deneuve (1970s and '80s 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), 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. Marilyn Monroe brought this perfume to fame.