Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life
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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 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.
Cocteau and Rouault, and the composers Stravinsky and Prokofiev. She gave another of her magnificent balls to celebrate the end of another Ballets Russes season. The Hôtel de Lauzan was awash with the best champagne, caviar spilled from soup tureens, the gardens were lit by lanterns, a black jazz band offered up the most fashionable contemporary music. Serge Lifar, now the Ballets Russes’s principal dancer, and who would in time describe Gabrielle as his “godmother,” recalled the evening:We drank
the British military authorities in the spring of 1945. The military recorded that Schilinger “was apparently accompanying Baron von Dincklage with a view to taking him to the latter’s family estate at Gettorf. Von Dincklage was in possession of US dollars 8,948 which were impounded on his arrest.”58 There was no possibility of getting von Dincklage back into France, and with the burden of Gabrielle’s own blackened reputation acting as a spur, by the winter of 1945 she had made her judicious move
for Gabrielle, like the rest, she saw that prêt-à-porter was an inevitable part of the future. Accordingly, through Marie-Louise Bousquet in Paris and Carmel Snow in the States, she cunningly set up a most innovative deal that would fund her new collection. To coincide with its launch, she negotiated “Coco Chanel” ready-to-wear originals in New York’s fashion district, Seventh Avenue. Gabrielle calculated—correctly—that this would stimulate considerable interest around the world. Not only that,
death of at draper’s shop at Notre Dame convent suitors of Chanel, Alphonse birth of death of placed with peasant farmers Chanel, Angélina Chanel, Antoinette in Aubazine convent at Biarritz shop birth of in Coco’s hat shop in departure to Buenos Aires marriage of at Notre Dame convent suicide of Chanel, Eugénie Jeanne Devolle: Coco’s reminiscences of death of marriage of pregnancy of work by Chanel, Gabrielle (Coco): appearance of artistic character of artists supported
serial infidelities, the new bride had for long schooled herself to ignore them, even treating them with a “grudging admiration.” En route to Venice, the Serts and Gabrielle stopped off at Padua, where Gabrielle went with Misia to the Basilica of Saint Anthony. Misia insisted it would dissolve Gabrielle’s despair, that Saint Anthony would give her peace. Gabrielle was reluctant, but constantly close to tears, she had obliged. Where Donatello’s high-altar masterpiece still stands, Gabrielle found