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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Westminster, CO

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Westminster, CO offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers Westminster, CO



We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.


Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.


Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.


Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.


Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.


We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.


Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.


If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level


We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers Westminster, CO

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are manufactured in-house and arrive new or restored to factory specifications
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.


High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.


When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent Westminster, CO

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.


Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers Westminster, CO
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.


Building additions to your home can be very expensive and requires going through the hassle of securing permits and waiting for construction. You can save money, time and stress by modifying a shipping container instead. Whether you need additional space for a home gym, recreation or storage, we can convert steel containers into anything you can imagine. Our custom container gyms, man-caves or she-sheds, garages and more give you the extra space you need without the hassle, cost and wait that comes with home renovation.

Renting shipping containers for temporary storage, either when moving or dealing with restoration from a fire or flood, provides a secure, convenient way to keep your belongings close for accessing them whenever you need to. Plus, renting mobile storage containers for moving costs less than traditional movers and allows you to take your time packing, reducing the stress that comes from moving. You can also rent portable offices for your home to make working remotely distraction-free.

 Rent Shipping Containers Westminster, CO


With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Westminster, CO, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.


We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Westminster, CO, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.


You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.


Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.




Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Westminster, CO. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.



Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.



Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.



When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.


Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @


Latest News in Westminster, CO

La etapa secreta de Coco Chanel como espía nazi

Diseñadora, ícono de la moda y del feminismo; parece que Coco Chanel hizo de todo, pero ¿también fue una espía nazi de la Segunda Guerra Mundial? El legado de Gabrielle Chasz, alias Coco Chanel, es innegable, tanto para el mundo de la moda, como para la emancipación de las mujeres, es decir, el inicio del feminismo. Disruptiva, elegante e iconica son algunos de los adjetivos con los que suele acompañarse su nombre; no obstante, tambi&ea...

Diseñadora, ícono de la moda y del feminismo; parece que Coco Chanel hizo de todo, pero ¿también fue una espía nazi de la Segunda Guerra Mundial?

El legado de Gabrielle Chasz, alias Coco Chanel, es innegable, tanto para el mundo de la moda, como para la emancipación de las mujeres, es decir, el inicio del feminismo. Disruptiva, elegante e iconica son algunos de los adjetivos con los que suele acompañarse su nombre; no obstante, también se ha dicho que la diseñadora francesa fungió como espía para los nazis, operando desde París, Francia.

[Te puede interesar: Frases célebres de Coco Chanel y otras diseñadoras]

Así lo aseguró el escritor Hal Vaughan en su libro ‘Durmiendo con el enemigo, donde además afirmó que el vínculo de la diseñadora con los servicios de inteligencia nazi alemanes era el oficial de 44 años, Baron Hans Guenther Von Dincklage.

"Chanel era una oportunista consumada. Los nazis tenían el poder y Chanel gravitaba hacia el poder. Era la historia de su vida". Ella no creía en nada excepto en la moda. Ella creía en las ropas bonitas, en su negocio, y no le importaban Hitler, ni las políticas del nazismo", escribió Hal Vaughan.

¿Cómo fue que Coco Chanel estuvo relacionada con los nazis?

¿Cómo fue que una diseñadora tan exitosa como Gabrielle, Coco Chanel se prestara a colaborar con los nazis en la Segunda Guerra Mundial? El problema: la guerra y el cambio de prioridades derivado de la misma. En 1939, al inicio de la guerra, no era un buen momento para la moda. Los materiales de fabricación para las prendas comenzaron a escasear, además de que las prioridades de las mujeres cambiaron debido al conflicto bélico.

[También lee: Coco Chanel, la historia tras el perfume más iconico de la historia]

Esto impactó en la casa de modas de la Madmoiselle, quien cerró todas sus tiendas, menos la de París, Francia, ubicada en el número 31 de Rue Cambon, la cual sigue operando y es -quizá- la tienda más icónica de la marca. La diseñadora tenía en ese entonces 57 años.

Fue entonces que se involucró con Von Dincklage, quien facilitó su hospedaje en el lujoso hotel Ritz Carlton, además de coordinar sus relaciones comerciales con las autoridades de la ocupación. ¿Y qué dió a cambio Gabrielle Chanel? Aceptó fungir como agente, bajo el apodo de Westminster.

De acuerdo con la escritora Cristina Morató, autora de Divas rebeldes, a pesar de que Von Dicklage era casi 15 años más joven que Mademoiselle Chanel, la conexión fue inmediata, ya que él era conocido por ser guapo, carismático y casanova:

Cuando él la conoció, asegura la autora Cristina Morató, le dijo: "Llámame Spatz, así me llaman mis amigos". Spatz en alemán significa gorrión.

Los contactos que Coco Chanel logró en su estancia del hotel Ritz Carlton fueron clave para que su sobrino, André Palasse, fuera liberado de un campo de prisioneros de guerra. De acuerdo con la BBC, posterior a la liberación de su sobrino, fue a Madrid en agosto de 1941 con permiso de los alemanes.

¿Coco Chanel era una espía nazi?

De acuerdo con Hal Vaughan, no:

“Espionaje se entiende por tomar fotografías, conseguir documentos. Chanel nunca hizo eso. Ella era una facilitadora. Conocía a todo el mundo en España y en Reino Unido, y ayudó a los nazis.”, asegura el escritor.

¿Qué pasó con Coco Chanel después de la 2 Guerra Mundial?

Todos sabemos quiénes ganaron la guerra; por ello fue que en 1944 Madmoiselle Chanel fue detenida en el Ritz, así como acusada e interrogada por su colaboración con los alemanes. Se salvó debido a la intervención de Bendor Westminster ante Winston Churchill, librándose así del castigo por haber tenido contacto con soldados u oficiales alemanes. Después de este amargo episodio, huyó a Suiza.

Muerte de Coco Chanel

Fue hasta 1954 que regresó a París, restableciendo su negocio de alta costura con dinero de Pierre Wertheimer. En 1971, con 87 años, murió Gabrielle Chanel, pero su legado, así como la reputación de su marca y casa de modas perdura hasta nuestros días.

Roots in the South/Raíces en el Sur: Local Latinx Artist Panel

The Latin American and Latino Studies program will host "Roots in the South / Raíces en el Sur," a panel discussion composed of Latinx creatives with roots in Arkansas. Moderated by Endowed Associate Professor of Graphic Design Gaby Hernández, the panel will take place at 6 p.m. on March 31, 2022, in the Multicultural Center classroom on the fourth floor of the Union. Following the discussion, Hernández will open the floor to questions from the audience.The featured panelists are poet Noelia Cerna, mural...

The Latin American and Latino Studies program will host "Roots in the South / Raíces en el Sur," a panel discussion composed of Latinx creatives with roots in Arkansas. Moderated by Endowed Associate Professor of Graphic Design Gaby Hernández, the panel will take place at 6 p.m. on March 31, 2022, in the Multicultural Center classroom on the fourth floor of the Union. Following the discussion, Hernández will open the floor to questions from the audience.

The featured panelists are poet Noelia Cerna, muralist/visual artist/designer José Hernández, multidisciplinary visual artist Alan Rodríguez and singer-songwriter Coco Vásquez.

Cerna is a Costa Rican poet based in Northwest Arkansas. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 7 and received a Bachelor's degree in English from Westminster College in Missouri. Her writing has been published in Terse Journal, The North Meridian Review, the Plants and Poetry Journal and elsewhere. Cerna is a reader and poetry feedback editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal, an assistant poetry editor for Borderlands Texas Poetry Review, an associate editor for Sibling Rivalry Press, an editor for Nomadic Press, a poetry genre editor for Patchwork Lit Mag, a writing mentor for Pen America's Prison Writing Mentorship Program and a recent recipient of the PEN America L'Engle-Rahman Prize for Mentorship.

Hernández is a muralist and graffiti artist who believes art is a responsibility, not a privilege, and that public art is the reflection of community, history and beliefs. His aim is to spark communication through the manipulation of color, perspective, form and imagination. His work under the tag name, X3mex, can be spotted across Arkansas, including the social justice-minded murals belonging to the 7th Street Mural Project in Little Rock.

Rodríguez is a Mexican-American multidisciplinary visual artist. He participates in community engagement activations and has assisted in teaching art to youth in the juvenile court system. Rodríguez has mural installations on exhibit throughout the United States.

Known for her music, alt-R&B artist Pura Coco (née Coco Vásquez) blends her Salvadoran roots and Southern upbringing into a unique and authentic style to convey a multitude of emotions. Well-versed in a multitude of artforms, this passionate young writer and vocalist continues working on her craft, allowing her interests and passions to build her identity.

More about the Latin American and Latino Studies program: LALS is an interdisciplinary area and ethnic studies program in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. The LALS program provides in-depth exposure to the key geographic regions, historical trajectories, social modes, languages, and political, economic, and cultural systems of Latin America and the Latinx U.S. LALS draws primarily on courses from History and Political Science, Anthropology, Art History, Sociology, English, Economics, Music, and Language, Literature and Culture.

Coco Chanel’s manifesto shows a woman of style with substance

By John McDonaldFebruary 4, 2022 — 2.13pm, register or ...

By John McDonald

February 4, 2022 — 2.13pm

, register or subscribe to save articles for later.

“I am not a heroine,” Gabrielle Chanel told one of her biographers. “But I have chosen the person I wanted to be and am. Too bad if I am disliked and unpleasant.”

Like most things this famous couturiere said, this statement requires unpacking. Madame Chanel could be extremely unpleasant, but also wildly generous. She was admired and idolised more than disliked, although she might be savage with foes and friends. One of the great self-inventors, Chanel was constantly refining and altering the story of her life. She was a consummate liar who scripted her own myth and accepted it as fact, until she decided to change it again.

Not only did Chanel choose the person she wanted to be, she turned her models into facsimiles of herself, dictating their look, their posture and gestures. Those with larger busts might be required to wear a corset that made them seem as flat-chested as the boss. Chanel was a fashion dictator who would have liked all the women in the world to dress in the style she invented and sold. She came closer than any other designer in history to realising this fantasy.

None of this is spelled out in Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto at the National Gallery of Victoria, but visitors who know nothing about Chanel will realise they are in the presence of a powerful, distinctive vision. I’m not going to critique the dresses, suits and accessories because that’s not my area of expertise. Chanel, more than any other figure from the world of haute couture, needs to be seen in general terms as a creative dynamo who exerted an enormous influence on the culture of the twentieth century.

She befriended and worked with many of the leading artists, writers, musicians, designers, dancers, actors and filmmakers who made their way through Paris, including Picasso, Cocteau, Colette, Diaghilev, Jean Renoir and Stravinsky. She had an affair with Stravinsky and long-running relationships with the poet, Pierre Reverdy, and the Duke of Westminster, but would never marry.

Born at a Charity Hospital in the Loire Valley, in 1883, Chanel came from the humblest of backgrounds. She owed her entry into the world of high fashion to the patronage of two wealthy upper-class men, and her own indomitable instincts. She had the ambition and will to succeed, an innate sense of style and a formidable intelligence. From her earliest years, Chanel aimed to stand out: wearing men’s clothing when other women were wreathed in huge, elaborate dresses.

She is said to have got her nickname, “Coco”, from a popular song which she sang at a café in Moulins, in the early 1900s. True or false, it was the name by which she was known all over the world. I don’t know why the Parisian museums behind this exhibition should have chosen to use Chanel’s real name, “Gabrielle”, when “Coco” is a brand.

Perhaps the curators intended to draw a line under a disreputable episode from the Second World War, when Chanel, unwilling to remain in hiding in the provinces, took herself back to Paris during the German occupation. Her old residence, the Ritz, was under the control of the Gestapo, who were delighted to welcome her home. She would have a long-running affair with a German official and even suggest herself as an intermediary between the Nazis and Winston Churchill, whom she counted as a personal friend.

The war years formed the subject of a book by Hal Vaughan in 2011, which has been denounced by Chanel’s admirers, who refuse to see her tarred as a spy or traitor. She does, however, tick all the boxes as a “collabo”. Although Chanel was never brought to trial, she withdrew from the fashion business between 1939 and 1954, returning when the world wanted to look forward rather than dwell on the sins of the past.

This may be why there is virtually nothing in the show, or in the excellent catalogue translated from the French, that looks closely at the war years. It may be the reason Chanel has been reborn as the dignified “Gabrielle”, rather than the playful “Coco”.

At heart, Chanel was more Modernist than moralist. Like a modern architect she aimed to strip away all superfluous decoration, creating fashion that was versatile and easy-to-wear. “All my art,” she said, “consists of cutting away what others have added.”

At a time when dresses were so complicated it required a servant to help put them on or off, and a travelling case the size of a wardrobe, she produced lighter, more durable garments that could be worn anywhere by women of modest means and independent habits.

Her early rival, Paul Poiret, called Chanel’s style “misérabilisme de luxe”, but she would still be thriving when he closed his doors. “I made fashion honest,” was one of her claims.

Chanel pioneered the craze for sportsware, which catered to the tastes of the garçonne, or flapper, who was trim and energetic, who liked to dance, drink and smoke, play tennis and drive cars. In 1926, after a night at the theatre when she felt disgusted by seeing so many ornate gowns in gaudy colours, she came up with the idea of the “little black dress”. It was mocked as a funereal gesture, but her instincts were proven correct: this simple, functional dress came as a massive relief to women who were tired of the expensive formal fashions of the day. Few could afford a gown from a leading couturier, but a version of the little black dress was within reach of any middle-class woman.

Like so many of her innovations it started a trend and would be copied all over the world. Unlike other designers, Chanel never worried about piracy, which she saw as free publicity. The difference between the original and the cheap copy was easy enough to discern in the details, the quality of the cut and the fabric.

The joke was that she had “invented poverty for billionaires” because the wealthy were now prepared to pay a premium for something so basic. Chanel bet and won on the idea that she could make Parisian socialites go crazy for puritan modesty.

The simplicity of Chanel’s outfits was complemented by a taste for lavish, theatrical jewellery, which drew on antique models. She made exclusive items with diamonds and other precious stones, and equally exotic pieces using artificial jewellery. She would often combine real and fake stones, emphasising personal taste over the shallow snobbery based on spending power.

Her most consistent money-spinner, from the moment it appeared in 1921, was the famous perfume, Chanel No. 5, an abstract fragrance with an abstract title, sold in a sleek, squarish bottle that has been called Cubist or Minimalist. By going against the conventions of luxury packaging and identifiable floral essences, she created a perfume for Everywoman.

When Chanel made her comeback in 1954, having spent 15 years out of the game, she was widely mocked for relying in the same formulae that had brought her success in the past. But she had timed her return to perfection, realising that Christian Dior’s glamorous “new look”, which debuted in 1947, was showing signs of age. The ineluctable logic of fashion meant that complexity would be superseded by simplicity, extravagance by restraint. Within a year or two, Chanel was back at the top. Pitting herself against the spirit of the 60s, she wasn’t making clothes for a season or an evening, but garments that would still look fashionable years later. “I am against fashion that doesn’t last,” was one of her maxims. Reserving the right to contradict herself, she told another interviewer: “The more transient fashion is, the more perfect it is.”

After sampling museum fashion shows filled with bizarre, sculptural creations that could never be worn in the street, you may find the discreet, pragmatic style of Chanel too conservative. Any flights of the imagination are held in check by an implacable logic that understood the market and the psychology of the customer. It’s the cumulative power of invention, the perfectionism, the breadth of understanding that sets her work apart. Chanel did not merely borrow from modern art, like Yves Saint-Laurent with his Mondrian dresses, she was an active participant in the whole Modernist adventure. She was always a leader, never a follower.

Chanel’s extraordinary career was built on paradoxes. She used artifice to probe fundamental truths of human nature. She conquered the wealthy with a wilfully impoverished style and sold timeless elegance to the middle classes. Her success was an act of class revenge, her self-confidence a weapon that floored her competitors and her admirers. Never conventionally beautiful, she charmed a succession of talented, high-powered males, but chose a solitary existence. She played down her achievements only to raise them higher, saying: “Fashion is not an art, it is a job. If art makes use of fashion, then that is sufficient praise.”

At other times she came up with more expansive views, pronouncing that “fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

Ultimately it might be better to admit that fashion is both a job and an art: a commercial activity and a creative enterprise that can be as frivolous or profound as the designer herself. To engage with the style and intelligence of Chanel’s work is to discover a remarkable self-portrait.

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto, at the National Gallery of Victoria, until April 25.

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Chanel Haute Horlogerie Red Edition Collection Is Inspired By Coco Chanel’s Accent Color Of Choice

Chanel has proclaimed 2022 the year of the ruby, and to celebrate, it’s launching a trio of limited edition watches, all of them set with rubies. The J12 X-Ray Red is lavished with 80 baguette cut rubies. The bezel and crown of the Boy-Friend Skeleton Red Edition is highlighted with rubies, and the crown of the sapphire-cased Boy-Friend Skeleton X-Ray Red Edition is likewise decorated, with the circular bridges of the movement colored red to match. Maison founder Coco Chanel famously loved black and white, and those colors have come to...

Chanel has proclaimed 2022 the year of the ruby, and to celebrate, it’s launching a trio of limited edition watches, all of them set with rubies. The J12 X-Ray Red is lavished with 80 baguette cut rubies. The bezel and crown of the Boy-Friend Skeleton Red Edition is highlighted with rubies, and the crown of the sapphire-cased Boy-Friend Skeleton X-Ray Red Edition is likewise decorated, with the circular bridges of the movement colored red to match. Maison founder Coco Chanel famously loved black and white, and those colors have come to define the brand, but she also had a penchant for red accents, and is said to have declared, “If you’re sad or heartbroken, make yourself up, dress up, add more lipstick and attack.”

Her attack on the fashion front involved deft touches of red to highlight the structure of a jacket and application of the color the lining of one of her iconic handbags. Successive creative directors have kept the tradition alive. “As a stylistic device, I have used red on three Haute Horlogerie creations,” says Arnaud Chastaingt, director of the Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio. “I like the boldness of a movement made up in red, the sensuality of the marriage of beige gold and rubies, the authority of a glossy red strap against a wrist. There is nothing faint-hearted about red! It has an uncompromising elegance.”

The J-12 X-ray Red Edition celebrates transparency, with a movement that is openworked and exposed thanks to transparent sapphire bridges. The synthetic rubies that are a standard component of the mechanical movement are also exposed. There are 12 baguette cut natural rubies to serve as markers on the dial and 46 baguette rubies are invisibly set into the bezel. It is limited to 12 pieces. Case and bracelet are made of transparent sapphire crystal, hence the “X-ray” in the name.

The bezel of the Boy-Friend Skeleton Red Edition is set with 38 baguette cut rubies, and the crown with five baguette cut rubies. The buckle on the matching red strap is set with another 23 rubies – the strap recalls the lining of Chanel’s iconic 2.55 handbag. The red highlights on the bridges contrast with the 18k beige gold case in the same way an application of lipstick would be applied next to skin tone, says Chanel. This one is limited to 55 pieces. The Boy-Friend Skeleton X-Ray Red Edition is made with a transparent sapphire crystal case and bezel. The same red highlights are applied to the circular bridges of the movement, and five rubies are set into the crown. It is limited to 100 pieces. All prices are on request.

Coco Chanel’s former ‘love nest’ discovered in utter decay

This famous estate is badly in danger of crumbling — but one urban explorer has documented its decayed interior for posterity.In the 1920s, legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel and her lover, the 2nd Duke of Westminster Hugh Grosvenor, used to cozy up at Rosehall Estate, a luxe Scottish summer home owned by the duke.The chateau was used as a “love nest&...

This famous estate is badly in danger of crumbling — but one urban explorer has documented its decayed interior for posterity.

In the 1920s, legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel and her lover, the 2nd Duke of Westminster Hugh Grosvenor, used to cozy up at Rosehall Estate, a luxe Scottish summer home owned by the duke.

The chateau was used as a “love nest” by Chanel and Grosvenor, who carried on a years-long affair, often at the mansion. The couple spent summers fishing and hunting around the 700-acre estate and hosted visitors including Winston Churchill. The mansion featured huge cast iron fireplaces, ornate furniture and other glamorous finishings designed by Chanel herself.

But after decades of abandon, the mansion is now in a shocking state of disrepair, video footage from urban explorer and South Yorkshire-based salesman Matt Nadin shows.

Nadin captured its present, dilapidated shape on the eve of what could be a major renovation: This year, it was purchased for an undisclosed price after moldering for four years on the market. It was previously listed for about $3.9 million, and set to be turned into a luxury hotel.

Nadin, 40, posted footage inside the space to his YouTube channel, where he often posts footage of himself exploring abandoned and historic spaces.

“This is somewhere I have really wanted to get into for a while. I went when it was raining because I thought there was less chance of people being outside and less chance of being caught,” Nadin, who explored the property while recently on vacation with his family, told Caters. “Some of the rooms were absolutely massive. Some of the windows must have been 15 feet tall, but it was riddled with damp and the walls were full of cracks.”

Nadin also found bottles of beer and sherry, a dusty chaise lounge, a pair of old skis, a horse-drawn fire-engine cart, an ancient range cooker and, naturally, plenty of ghosts.

“It was fascinating wondering which room Coco Chanel would have slept in and the wild parties that would have gone on. The history of the place is just crazy,” he said. “Coco Chanel came here before the war and spent a lot of time living here. These were her glory days, and it’s crazy to think who might have walked into that building before me. It’s just a real shame that it’s in the state it is now.”

Nadin believes the hotel conversion plans have fallen through, but maintains hope that some developer will one day take enough interest in the estate to restore it to its former glory.

“It’s a wonderful place, and I really hope someone comes along to save it,” he said.


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