Occasionally True Stories

Occasionally True Stories

The Story of Maria Chavalie

There is a picture of Maria Chavalie – a designer of CHANEL House. Probably only few people know that she is Mariam Machavariani, Georgian girl with big dreams.

Young Mariam worked in a silk factory in Georgia and would often collect little pieces of fabric. With these little pieces she used to make clothes for the dolls and dreamed of the day when she would sew long, beautiful silk dresses.

One day a group of employees, including Mariam, were sent to work in Lyon – the European silk capital. The girl didn’t have much, but took the most precious treasure – her dolls.

One day, in 1919, young designer of the Chanel house, Henry Chavalie, arrived at the Lyon factory to select a fabric. As they say: “It was love at first sight.” With many common interests and great love Henry won the heart of a Georgian girl at once. As soon as Mary discussed her dreams with Henry, he took her works to Chanel’s house, where talents were highly valued, and Mary was immediately invited to work.

In 1922 and 1926, Mary created two of Chanel’s most famous silk dresses, that are now preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Mary and Henry got married soon. This is how Mariam Machavariani became – Maria Chavalie, a successful designer of the Chanel house. Their descendants are still active in high fashion.

Authors: Nino Arabidze and Mano Baliashvili