Thursday, 6 October 2011


Release Date: 06/10/11


By the end of the First World War, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel had revolutionised women's dress. But dress was the most visible aspect of more profound changes she helped to bring about. During the course of her extraordinary and unconventional journey - from abject poverty to a new kind of glamour - Chanel would help forge the very idea of modern woman.

Unearthing an astonishing life, this remarkable biography shows how the most influential designer of her century became synonymous with a rebellious and progressive style. Her numerous liaisons, whose most poignant details have eluded all previous biographers, were the stuff of legend. Witty, strange, mesmerizing, Chanel became muse, patron or mistress to some of the century's most celebrated artists, including Stravinsky, Picasso and Dali.

Highlighting the designer's far-reaching connections with modernism and its artists, this book explores the origins, the creative power, and the secret suffering of this exceptional and often misread woman.


With so much being written about Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, you do wonder what so many authors have been discovering in order to feed the mill about her other than new discoveries about hidden designs for the fashion collection and whilst I have to admit an interest in one of the most controversial as well as clever business women of our age, I haven’t read any books about her before, so it was a story that I was interested in reading based more on what the woman had to say rather than the public figure.

What was revealed within this title was a story from her humble beginnings through to her time in a convent and then onto the streets of Paris alongside her love affair through previously unpublished letters from Arthur “Boy” Capel and extracts from the diaries of Dmitri Pavlovich (one of the surviving Russian Nobility.) It’s candid, it has some heart felt moments and the reader gets to see what made Chanel tick as well as her grief at the loss of various loves. All in a decent book and whilst I can’t comment on other titles about her, this one gave me a rounded view and allowed me to glimpse the human beneath the myth.

1 comment:

Pat Hollett said...

I don't often read books about real people but this one caught my eye. I enjoyed your take on it and the personal revelations about her life sound like something worth reading. She was an icon, and still is. Having a degree in fashion design, this is a book I'd read based on your review. Thanks for that! :)