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Life according to Coco Chanel

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Despite having died forty years ago in 1971, Coco Chanel's legacy lives on. An extraordinary and colourful character, Coco was a pioneer in the world of fashion who defined an era of style with her classic, timeless designs and redefined what it was to dress as a woman. A firm believer in elegance and the wearing of perfume, she had a lot to say about life - whether it was how to achieve your dreams or the importance of putting on make-up.

In honour of what would have been her 129th birthday (19 August), we've selected some of her lasting pearls of wisdom in the gallery below. Simply click an image to launch the gallery.

Picture credits: Getty Images and Rex Features

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous."

    Picture: Coco in 1931

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "I don't do fashion, I AM fashion."

    Picture: Coco in 1934

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    ""Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance."

    Picture: A model wearing a Chanel evening dress in 1935

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "It is always better to be slightly underdressed."

    Picture: A model wearing a Chanel suit in the 1930s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "A woman can be over dressed but never over elegant."

    Picture: Models wearing Chanel dresses in the 1950s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Fashion fades, only style remains the same."

    Picture: Coco in 1910

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman."

    Picture: Models wearing Chanel suits in the 1950s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "There are a lot of duchesses, but only one Coco Chanel."

    Picture: Coco in 1936

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny."

    Picture: Models wearing Chanel in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress."

    Picture: Actress Gloria Swanson wears a Chanel gown in 1931

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions."

    Picture: Coco dressing a model in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "The grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejeuvenate women. To make women look young. Then their outlook changes. They feel more joyous."

    Picture: A model wearing Chanel in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud."

    Picture: Coco in 1936

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."

    Picture: A model wearing Chanel in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."

    Picture: Coco in 1929

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different."

    Picture: Coco in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!"

    Picture: A model wearing Chanel in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Fashion is made to become unfashionable."

    Picture: A model in Chanel in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "A woman has the age she deserves."

    Picture: Coco in 1962

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Women must tell men always that they are the strong ones. They are the big, the strong, the wonderful."

    Picture: Coco surrounded by models in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "To achieve great things, we must first dream."

    Picture: Coco in 1937

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Arrogance is in everything I do. It is in my gestures, the harshness of my voice, in the glow of my gaze, in my sinewy, tormented face."

    Picture: Coco in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "A beautiful dress may look beautiful on a hanger, but that means nothing. It must be seen on the shoulders, with the movement of the arms, the legs, and the waist."

    Picture: Models wearing Chanel in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "You live but once; you might as well be amusing."

    Picture: Coco in 1954

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity."

    Picture: A model wearing Chanel in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone."

    Picture: Coco in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "My friends, there are no friends."

    Picture: Coco with her friends in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "Coquetry, it's a triumph of the spirit over the senses."

    Picture: A model wearing Chanel in the 1960s

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "I don't know why women want any of the things men have when one the things that women have is men."

    Picture: Coco with Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster, in 1924

  • Life according to Coco Chanel

    "I am not young but I feel young. The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there. J'aime la vie! I feel that to live is a wonderful thing."

    Picture: Coco in 1969