Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life by Justine Picardie

Granted I can't afford the luxury that The House of Chanel sells, but I'm always fascinated by the lives of the glamorous people of the past. Unfortunately, today's "glamorous" people leave much to be desired.
In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
Coco Chanel

The audiobook was excellent to listen to and went through Chanel's life, from start to finish. Much of what is told is questionable as Coco was never one to tell the exact truth about herself to anyone. Everyone seemed to get a different version. What is known is that she was born into a poor family and her father was not around much at all. Her mother passed away with all the children in the room, which made an impression on Gabrielle (Coco was just a nickname). Her father showed up long enough to take her to a convent orphanage, where she stayed until she was 18.

Her rise to the top as the one and only Chanel is well written, including documenting all of Gabrielle's lovers (most were already married when Chanel got to them). Gabrielle herself never married nor had children and that seemed to bother her greatly at the end.

During the war (2), Chanel was investigated as helping the Germans. She had a "Comeback" couture collection at age 70. The list could really go on about her, and all of these things made her legendary.

The book did spend some time on Jackie Kennedy, simply because she was one of the most fashionable First Ladies and made the Chanel suit an icon. The beautiful pink Chanel suit that ended up covered in JFK's blood in Dallas.

I really did enjoy this book. In the end, Chanel was incredibly talented, iconic, and a grand dame of Parisian fashion. But, she was also a person, one who got lonely and got old.
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