Wouldn’t you though?
Coco Chanel wasn’t just a fashion designer, she was an inventor – she conjured up the little black dress, bobbed hair, trousers for women, contemporary chic, perfumes, and the fashion brand Chanel – but she also invented herself, fashioning the myth of her own life with the same dexterity as her couture. Living through two world wars, and surviving Nazi occupation of Paris by embarking on an affair with a German officer, Coco Chanel’s life and the evolution of her brand are the recipe for a gripping page turner (if you’ve got a busy diary, start this book at your peril). I was lucky enough to see Justine Picardie talk at the Althorp literary Festival last week, and I was gripped from the start (and that was just her speech)!
Regaling stories about Chanel’s passionate and turbulent relationships, Justine’s own passion is clearly evident (however else did I sit for an hour without fidgeting). In researching the book, Justine travelled and interviewed Chanel’s last surviving friends, employees, and relatives, and even stayed in the nunnery Chanel was left at as a child, so she’s well equipped to spin this yarn.
Feared and revered by the rest of the fashion industry, Coco Chanel died in 1971 at the age of eighty-seven, but her legacy lives on. Justine Picardie brings Gabrielle Chanel out of hiding and uncovers the consequences of what Chanel covered up, unpicking the seams between truth and myth in a story that reveals the true heart of fashion. Absolutely brilliant!
Out in paperback from HarperCollins £10.99