Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life
Justine Picardie has spent the last decade puzzling over the truth about Coco Chanel, attempting to peel away the accretions of romance and lies. In this critically acclaimed, bestselling biography she shares the history of the incredible woman who created the way we look now. Coco Chanel was an extraordinary inventor - she conjured up the little black dress, bobbed hair, trousers for women, contemporary chic, best-selling perfumes, and the most successful fashion brand of all time - but she also invented herself, fashioning the myth of her own life with the same dexterity as her couture. While Chanel was supreme innovator and vendor of all things elegant and beautiful, what lies beneath her own glossy myth is far darker. Throwing new light on her passionate and turbulent relationships, this beautifully constructed portrait gives a fresh and penetrating look at how Coco Chanel made herself into her own most powerful creation. Justine Picardie brings the mysterious Gabrielle Chanel out of hiding, to celebrate her great achievements. She examines Chanel's enduring afterlife, as well as her remarkable life, uncovering the consequences of what she covered up, unpicking the seams between truth and legend, yet keeping intact the real fabric of her past.
Shortlisted for Galaxy National Book Awards: Tesco Biography of the Year 2010.
'Gripping... In the deftest prose, Picardie plots one of the most extraordinary lives of the 20th Century. The book is lavishly illustrated, too, with images of iconic outfits and intimate photos from Chanel's private albums.' Mail on Sunday 'Fascinating. Chanel was a tragic figure of almost Shakespearean aspect - hugely successful, fiercely strong-willed, yet fatally flawed and eventually filled with regret.' Sunday Times 'The French fashion icon finds a shrewd and sympathetic interpreter in Justine Picardie... this handsome volume cleverly blends the life and afterlife of the enigma who became a brand.' The Independent 'Justine Picardie's vividly told account of Coco Chanel's life has all the elements of a novel: the mystery, the sense of loss, the quest for fame and fortune, the distinguished lovers... in the style of Chanel herself.' Daily Mail '[An] elegant book...The Chanel uncovered by Picardie is a storyteller [who] spun her own myth... Coco has, in these pages, come out of hiding.' The Telegraph 'A detailed and captivating read' Red Magazine 'A brilliant biography' Grazia 'Picardie sheds new light on the intensely private designer... Impressive' Stylist Magazine 'The darker facets [of Chanel] are subtly and carefully revealed by Justine Picardie.' Wall Street Journal 'Justine Picardie sheds new light on the darker truths behind the glossy myth... Guaranteed to be the most well-read accessory at London Fashion Week.' Daily Express 'Justine Picardie's thoughtful and beautifully illustrated Life ... illuminates the iconoclast who might justifiably be said to have invented the twentieth-century woman.' Times Literary Supplement
JUSTINE PICARDIE is the author of four books, including her critically acclaimed memoir, If The Spirit Moves You. The former features director of British Vogue, and contributor to the Sunday Telegraph and Red magazine, she is now Editor in Chief for Harper's Bazaar. She lives in London with her two sons.