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Coco Chanel : ihr Leben in Bildern by…

Coco Chanel : ihr Leben in Bildern (edition 2005)

by Edmonde Charles-Roux, Coco Chanel

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157376,038 (4.27)1
Title:Coco Chanel : ihr Leben in Bildern
Authors:Edmonde Charles-Roux
Other authors:Coco Chanel
Info:München : Knesebeck, 2005.
Collections:Your library

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Chanel and Her World: Friends, Fashion, and Fame by Edmonde Charles-Roux



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I don't believe I have ever been quite so disillusioned after reading a book. As an aspiring designer, Chanel is my hero because of what she did for fashion and for women in general. She is the reason women look like they do today and, at least in my opinion, can be credited for liberating women in a sense. It was technically Poiret who freed women from the corset, but Chanel freed women from the choking frivolity imposed on feminine fashion by men, not once but twice in her long life. Every time anyone wears a little black dress, buys their thousandth piece of costume jewelry, or pulls an article of jersey, they should be thanking Coco.

If only she had been as admirable a person as she was a designer. Charles-Roux's biography portrays Chanel as an insecure peasant who labored all her life to keep everyone from finding out about her humble origins. Furthermore, her life unfolds as merely a series of disappointing romances in which Coco, the fearless courtier, depends completely on her lovers. Indeed, the Chanel empire was financed by a rich boyfriend. The worst of it are Chanel's Nazi connections during the Occupation. Coco not only had an affair with an SS agent but was involved in a Nazi-backed mission in which she was meant to convince Churchill to offer Germany a peace that didn’t involve unconditional surrender. This episode is thrilling but completely changed what I thought about Chanel. Her life was exciting but in the end rather sad and not in any way heroic, as I had hoped it would be.

As biographies go, this one isn't the best. The translation is either very bad or Charles-Roux is just not that good of a writer. Also, I had hoped she would have spent a lot more time discussing how Chanel built her empire and why she developed the clothing and unique style that she did. Charles-Roux only gives the reader Chanel's personal life when I was looking for at least as much information on her professional life. On the other hand, Charles-Roux ties Chanel's life together nicely, pointing out themes that popped up from time to time in Coco's work and personal relationships. If you can get past the writing, it is a pretty good read. Skip it if you have only a passing interest in fashion or perhaps if you are too interested in fashion and in Chanel's work; it's difficult to go on regarding her as a hero after reading it. ( )
  k8_not_kate | Jun 24, 2008 |
Haven't read it yet! It's beautiful to flip through, tho. ( )
  NicoleHC | May 16, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edmonde Charles-Rouxprimary authorall editionscalculated
Amphoux, NancyTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865651590, Hardcover)

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (1883–1971) is a fashion icon unlike any other. She invented modern clothing for women: at the height of the Belle Époque, she stripped women of their corsets and feathers, bobbed their hair, put them in bathing suits, and sent them out to get tanned in the sun. She introduced slacks, costume jewelry, and the exquisitely comfortable suit. She made the first couture perfume—No. 5—which remains the most popular scent ever created. In this beautiful volume, the glorious life of the incomparable Coco Chanel shines again through hundreds of illustrations and the lively prose of Edmonde Charles-Roux, her official biographer and close friend. Chanel knew and collaborated with the likes of Picasso, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Cocteau, Jean Renoir, and Visconti—even as she matched their modernist innovations by liberating women from the prison of 19th-century fashion and introducing a whole new concept of elegance. The staggering collection of photographs amassed by the author over decades of friendship with Chanel sheds new light on one of the great stories of the modern age.
 “A model pictorial biography.” ~ New York Times
“This Chanel biography is as elegantly turned out as its subject.” ~ The Washington Post
“This lavish photo tome brings depth to Chanel’s sleek façade while revealing the fascinating woman behind it.” ~ W
“Edmonde Charles-Roux (is) one of (Chanel’s) best biographers.” ~ The New Yorker
“There have been many books about Chanel, but this is the great classic.” ~ Art of the Times
“This beautiful volume contains hundreds of photographs and lively prose by its author, Edmonde Charles-Roux.” ~ American Salon
“Provides insight into the development of her sense of style and underscores the timelessness of her vision.” ~ Veranda

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Arguably, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel liberated women from the prison of 19th-century fashion and invented the look of the 20th century. In this illustrated biography, readers can also learn of her friendships and collaboration with major cultural figures of her time, as well as her tumultuous personal life.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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