Chanel: An Intimate Life reviewed by BOOK LIST:
So much of fashion is artifice and illusion, its allure dependent upon the power to convince and the willingness to believe. So it was with one of its most iconic and rebellious designers. An enigma wrapped in a riddle, Coco Chanel, as portrayed by biographer Chaney (who has also written about Peter Pan creator J. M. Barrie), was insecure yet daring, innovative yet conservative, independent yet needy. Profoundly influenced by her impoverished, peripatetic childhood, Chanel exhibited a cutthroat sense of self- preservation that carried her from the depths of seedy cafés to the heights of café society. Her professional ambition to rise from a mere shopkeeper’s assistant to become the unrivaled arbiter of style and elegance was equally matched by a hedonistic personal drive that delivered her to the beds of some of the twentieth century’s most celebrated and controversial political and artistic figures, from Igor Stravinsky to the Duke of Westminster. 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.
— Carol Haggas
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