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Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life
     

Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life

3.8 20
by Lisa Chaney
 

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The controversial story of Chanel, the twentieth century's foremost fashion icon

Revolutionizing women's dress, Gabrielle "Coco'' Chanel was the twentieth century's most influential designer. Her extraordinary and unconventional journey—from abject poverty to a new kind of glamour—helped forge the idea of modern woman.

Unearthing an

Overview

The controversial story of Chanel, the twentieth century's foremost fashion icon

Revolutionizing women's dress, Gabrielle "Coco'' Chanel was the twentieth century's most influential designer. Her extraordinary and unconventional journey—from abject poverty to a new kind of glamour—helped forge the idea of modern woman.

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

Drawing on newly discovered love letters and other records, Chaney's controversial book reveals the truth about Chanel's drug habits, her lesbian affairs, and her German lover during World War II.

While uniquely highlighting the designer's far-reaching influence on the modern arts, Chaney's fascinating biography paints a more nuanced picture of Coco Chanel than any so far. Movingly, it explores the origins, the creative power, and the secret suffering of this exceptional and often misunderstood woman.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The most thoroughly fleshed out of the new books about Chanel. . . . Ms. Chaney takes care to give detailed context all the way along, but not so much that she pulls us off the path. One appreciates her elegant tutorials.” — The Wall Street Journal

“Stuffed with just-so details as it sketches the arc of a remarkable life.” — Harper's Magazine

“Relying on newly released love letters, private diaries, and reminiscences . . . and using Chanel’s own words wherever possible, Chaney reveals the woman behind the icon. . . . Most important here is Chaney’s insight into Chanel’s role in creating the modern, independent woman.” — Library Journal

"Chaney’s engagement with her subject is evident throughout, and her exhaustive research into Chanel’s life—especially its darker, more enigmatic corners—and the cultural history she so profoundly impacted make the book as fascinating as it is informative." — Kirkus Reviews

“Deeply researched, Chaney’s enthralling biography unearths previously unavailable sources to reveal the elementally conflicted yet unequivocally gifted woman whose name will always be synonymous with sophistication and originality.” — Booklist

The Wall Street Journal
“The most thoroughly fleshed out of the new books about Chanel. . . . Ms. Chaney takes care to give detailed context all the way along, but not so much that she pulls us off the path. One appreciates her elegant tutorials.”
Harper's Magazine
“Stuffed with just-so details as it sketches the arc of a remarkable life.”
Booklist
“Deeply researched, Chaney’s enthralling biography unearths previously unavailable sources to reveal the elementally conflicted yet unequivocally gifted woman whose name will always be synonymous with sophistication and originality.”
Library Journal
British author Chaney (Hide-and-Seek with Angels: A Life of J.M. Barrie) serves up an excellent complement to Hal Vaughan's hyped Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War. Relying on newly released love letters, private diaries, and reminiscences Chanel shared with writer Paul Morand before her death, Chaney eschews politics to highlight the Chanel aesthetic—the philosophy of art, fashion, and creativity at the heart of her iconic brand. Chanel's life unfolds in detail—her impoverished youth, relationships with artists, writers, and musicians in Paris, self-serving love affairs, business partnerships, and scandalous at the time behaviors (bisexuality and drug use among them). Using Chanel's own words wherever possible, Chaney reveals the woman behind the icon—her vulnerability, loneliness, and disappointment at remaining childless. Most important here is Chaney's insight into Chanel's role in creating the modern, independent woman, who prized both beauty and functionality. Open about the difficulty of unraveling the various myths surrounding Chanel, Chaney concludes with a look at what became of the brand after her death. VERDICT While Vaughan's work focuses on Chanel's alleged pro-Nazi liaisons during and after World War II, Chaney details the totality of Chanel's life. Recommended for general readers interested in biography, fashion, and modern womanhood.—Marie M. Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ
Kirkus Reviews
In this ambitious, engrossing biography, Chaney (Hide-and-Seek with Angels: A Life of J.M. Barrie, 2006, etc.) delves into the life and times of one of the 20th century's most controversial fashion icons. The author probes beneath the cool exterior of Coco Chanel (1883–1971), the woman who, for all the money, status and power she attained, would always "remain self-conscious about her background," and whose personal torment over a tragic past would later manifest as an addiction to morphine. Chaney chronicles Chanel's early life in France, from her birth into a family of "impoverished, nomadic market-traders" and difficult adolescence at a convent orphanage to her years as a struggling apprentice seamstress. Hard-working and ambitious, Chanel understood that men were critical to her advancement and took young scions of wealthy families as her lovers. One such individual, Arthur Capel, not only became the love of her life, but also the man who helped Chanel establish the "little business" that, by the end of World War I, was well on its way to becoming a fashion empire. In the 1920s, Chanel catapulted to the center of cultural and artistic life in Paris, a place she occupied almost continuously until her death. Beautiful, provocative and possessed of a "mordant wit," she became linked to celebrated artists such as Stravinsky, Picasso and Dalí; members of the Russian nobility; other women; and, during World War II, a German soldier with Nazi ties. Chaney's engagement with her subject is evident throughout, and her exhaustive research into Chanel's life--especially its darker, more enigmatic corners--and the cultural history she so profoundly impacted make the book as fascinating as it is informative.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143122128
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/27/2012
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
134,537
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Lisa Chaney has taught at Oxford, covered cultural history for British TV and radio, and written for The Guardian and The Independent, among other publications. The author of two previous biographies, Elizabeth David and Hide-and-Seek With Angels: A Life of J.M. Barrie, she lives in York, England.

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Coco Chanel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love Gabrielle Chanel or a biography about any interesting person, you will love this book. It is detailed and factual, but also emotional. It really goes deep into her life and all that she went through. I am a huge Chanel fan, and this just made me love the woman behind the brand even more. She was a truly remarkable person.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not well written and quite boring. Too much about kept women this and that. It just rattles on. Where's the substance? Cant finish reading it. Read mademosille channel by Gortner if you want a good read about Coco.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Coco Chanel is a fantastic book if you want to have a deeper understanding of the famous Gabrielle Chanel’s life. From Chanel’s tragic childhood to her rise to fame, author Lisa Chaney does an impeccable job. One of the reasons this book helped capture me so much was all of the quotes Chaney used and how she told exactly where they were form in Chanel’s life. Not only were the quotes helpful with understanding how Chanel’s life was formed but also how the quotes were written into the story, it made you feel like you lived right alongside Chanel as she overcame so many battles.  Coco Chanel lived a very mysterious life and although many books and biographies have been written about her it is still very interesting to get every authors take on Chanel’s life. From the very beginning Chaney follows Chanel’s life from her birth in 1883 giving all the background needed about her ancestors to her mother and father to set an ideal scene for baby Gabrielle Chanel to be born. Chaney went on to write about how Chanel’s mother died and then her life in the orphanage until she moved out at the age of 18 to become a seamstress apprentice. Until one day she met a handsome solider which she eventually became his mistress, where in his mansion she found her love of fashion, which started with making her own hats.  This affair lasted three years until she met the love of her life Author Edward ‘Boy’ Capel. Boy helped her acquire her very own boutique, which lead to many more down the road. When he died in 1919, Chanel invented the little black dress, which some say is her greatest success.  Chanel worked right up to her death at the age of 88 in 1971. Her brand Chanel is still one of the most famous fashion brands in the world today due to its simplicity.  I choose this novel because it tied into my ethnography on personal styling. Although Coco Chanel never described herself as a person stylist, it was safe to say she styled the modern women of her time.  Overall I thought this book was very informational and helpful. I would personally give it five stars and I also would not mind reading it again. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lace1cat More than 1 year ago
Coco Chanel was full of herself, literally and figuratively! I'm amazed that a person of her impoverished background could be such a fashion snob.sly and cunning woman who used every person she ever met to her advantage. When she grew old she could always snuggle up to her millions each night!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My auntie works at saks and sells the chanel¿5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got locked out on som resuts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I pick this vook because its great if you want a biography about coco chanel which i need for my biography due march
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello! We all who want to see what other people said about the book are very annoyed at all this cat stuff! Thanks for wasting my time! :/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes its are foverite
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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