Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life

Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life

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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143122128
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/27/2012
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 422,258
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Prologue: You're Proud, You'll Suffer 1

1 Forebears 5

2 The Bad One 11

3 The Lost Years 15

4 Things That I Should Be and Which I Am Not 24

5 A Rich Man's Game 40

6 Captive Mistress 54

7 Arthur Capel 64

8 Refashioning Paris 74

9 The Rite of Spring 85

10 The End of an Epoque 96

11 Master of Her Art 105

12 The War Bans the Bizarre 116

13 Remember That You're a Woman 123

14 Alone 135

15 Beginning Again 148

16 The Strangest and Most Brilliant Years 159

17 Dmitri Pavlovich 168

18 The Lucky N° 5 181

19 Entirely in White and Covered in Pearls 194

20 Reverdy 212

21 At the Center 223

22 Bend'Or 239

23 The Crash 257

24 Schiap Had Lots of It but It Was Bad 274

25 War 286

26 Survival 297

27 Von Dincklage 315

28 Exile 335

29 Return: 1954 349

30 I Prefer Disaster to Nothingness 361

31 I Only Hear My Heart on the Stairs 379

Afterword: Those on Whom Legends Are Built Are Their Legends 393

Acknowledgments 400

Notes 405

Select Bibliography 424

Illustration Credits 430

Index 433

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Coco Chanel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 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
It really was enlightening as to Chanel's life and talent
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
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
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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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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