In this captivating narrative, Chanel’s Riviera explores the fascinating world of the Cote d’Azur during a period that saw the deepest extremes of luxury and terror in the twentieth century.
The Cote d’Azur in 1938 was a world of wealth, luxury, and extravagance, inhabited by a sparkling cast of characters including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Joseph P. Kennedy, Gloria Swanson, Colette, the Mitfords, Picasso, Cecil Beaton, and Somerset Maugham. The elite flocked to the Riviera each year to swim, gamble, and escape from the turbulence plaguing the rest of Europe. At the glittering center of it all was Coco Chanel, whose very presence at her magnificently appointed villa, La Pausa, made it the ultimate place to be. Born an orphan, her beauty and formidable intelligence allured many men, but it was her incredible talent, relentless work ethic, and exquisite taste that made her an icon.
But this wildly seductive world was poised on the edge of destruction. In a matter of months, the Nazis swooped down and the glamour of the pre-war parties and casinos gave way to the horrors of evacuation and the displacement of thousands of families during World War II. From the bitter struggle to survive emerged powerful stories of tragedy, sacrifice, and heroism.
Enriched by original research and de Courcy’s signature skill, Chanel’s Riviera brings the experiences of both rich and poor, protected and persecuted, to vivid life.
|Publisher:||St. Martin''s Publishing Group|
|File size:||36 MB|
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About the Author
Anne de Courcy is the author of several widely acclaimed works of social history and biography, including THE HUSBAND HUNTERS, MARGOT AT WAR, THE FISHING FLEET, THE VICEROY'S DAUGHTERS and DEBS AT WAR. She lives in London and Gloucestershire.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. 1930, the Beginning: La Pausa
2. Misia Sert and her Circle
3. Fun, Games and the Beginning of Terror
4. Love and Glamour on the Sunshine Coast
5. Socialism and Mrs. Simpson
6. 1937, the Rise of Schiaparelli
7. The Shadow of War
8. “La drôle de guerre”
9. June 1940
10. The Vichy Government
11. “A German Victory is Certain”
12. The Brutal Antisemitism of Vichy; Italian Protection
13. Escapes, Captures and Starvation Rations
14. Trying to Survive
15. Dubious Activities
16. The Resistance Grows Stronger, the Starving People Weaker
17. Last Days
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5 stars The author is pretty upfront with how this book isn't intended to be some definitive biography of Coco Chanel. There are other books out there that cover her entire life whereas this book has some details about how she got her start in the fashion and perfume industries but it primarily focuses on what was going on in her life the decade leading up to World War 2 as well as the war itself. This book also provides a look at France and in particular the French Riviera during that time period as well. While the book is filled with many interesting facts, there are so many people covered in the book to the point in which it was difficult keeping track of everyone. (It was especially challenging to remember who was sleeping with who. My gosh, did anyone back then not carry on an affair?) Sure, there were some well known names like Churchill or writer Aldous Huxley getting mentions but there were also plenty of people I had never heard of before and it's unfortunate the writing style with bouncing back and forth made it challenging to keep up. Even though I got frustrated at times while reading I am glad I got to learn a little more about some of the things that were going on in France during this time period. I do wish this had been more of a smoother read but at least the info was interesting. I won a free advance copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway but was not obligated to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
I’ve always wanted to know more about Coco Chanel the fashion and perfume maven, and this was a good overall look at her life, at least during an important part of it that tells of her and how she did business and lived her life. I enjoyed learning about the various artists and writers that she was friends with and socialized with. It shows the extreme opulence of the party lifestyle along the Riviera of the rich and famous against the backdrop of the rumblings of Germany and Hitler arming up for WWII. Coco built her main home on the Riviera, La Pausa, and spent most of her summer there with her latest lover. She didn’t care to be tied down or controlled by a husband. It’s also filled with information on lots of other public people like the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson, Winston Churchill, Salvador Dali, and many others of the time. I found it fairly enjoyable.