Saturday, 17 January 2015

Review 2015 No. 2 | Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

Picardie's biography of the infamous fashion designer Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel starts well. The opening chapter takes us to the heart of Chanel - on a literary tour of Chanel's private Paris apartment. As the story of Chanel's life and lies (for instance she frequently claimed to be younger than she was), and her ambition to rid herself of her poverty-stricken upbringing, is told. The style is somewhat sycophantic, and the tale and times of Chanel's life tapers off towards the end of the book, mirroring the designer's demise. The result was that, despite interesting anecdotes on her relationships with Misia Sert, Churchill, and other celebs of the time, which went off on extended tangents for many pages, this book became a chore to finish. I'm sorry I can't be more positive. Maybe my mood reflects Chanel's own disappointment with her life, one in which she cut herself free from the Aubazine convent to dedicate her life to fashion, only to simultaneously shatter any permanent familial or romantic connections. 

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