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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fascinating
I think this is an excellent biography of Chanel and Justine Picardie has done a remarkable job in writing such a comprehensive, and very readable, account of her achievements. And those achievements are truly remarkable - from being an abandoned child to leading designer of the fashion world - the little black dress, the perfume, the handbag, the little suit. From being...
Published on 17 Jan 2011 by Ms. Mary H. Smith

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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Coco Chanel The Legend and the Life
Disappointing
Everything I read about Coco before is in this book. Her childhood, her lovers, why include the Kennedy assassination and Liz Taylor? We all know who wore Coco's dresses. What I wanted to find out is about her Trade, her Talent. How her taste developed. Yes, she used the symbols from the orphanage, but the theories of design, gift of perspective, that...
Published on 4 Mar 2012 by raining


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fascinating, 17 Jan 2011
By 
Ms. Mary H. Smith (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Hardcover)
I think this is an excellent biography of Chanel and Justine Picardie has done a remarkable job in writing such a comprehensive, and very readable, account of her achievements. And those achievements are truly remarkable - from being an abandoned child to leading designer of the fashion world - the little black dress, the perfume, the handbag, the little suit. From being a seamstress to mingling with the great and the good (and sometimes the bad) such as Winston Churchill, Jackie Kennedy, Nijinsky, the Duke of Westminster, one of her long-term lovers, and many more famous characters. I liked the ways she seemed always to remain on good terms with her ex-lovers.
Chanel invented many versions of her own story and Picardie clearly went to great lengths to research this biography and to tease out (as far as it is ever possible to do) the truth from Chanel's fictions. I feel Chanel still remains something of an enigma ,as though she lets no one, regardeless of how hard they try, quite get to the essence of her. I also felt there was a huge sadness in her despite her spectacular successes. She changed the way women dressed and thought about themselves, in a way male fashion designers never did.
This is an absolutely fascinating account and beautifully produced book with lots of photographs (wish they could have been bigger), many never published before and illustrations. Reviewed by Mary Smith author of No More Mulberries
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classy and fabulous, 1 Oct 2010
This review is from: Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Hardcover)
Yes, some aspects of Chanel's life were confusing: she herself gave so many different accounts to friends and biographers, particularly about her difficult childhood. But Justine Picardie deftly unpicks the lies, weighs up the evidence and provides what must be the definitive account of the great Mademoiselle's remarkable life and career.

And in a life that stretched from 1883 to 1971 Chanel met, dressed and romanced a glittering cast of characters: French artists, poets and playboys; Russian royals and musicians; British aristocrats and politicians; German soldiers and intelligence officers; Hollywood producers and film stars. Far from labouring Chanel's association with all of these characters, Picardie steers a delicate and compelling path through the maze of Chanel's social and professional life. And in so doing, she highlights a wealth of intriguing discoveries: the truth about Chanel's controversial wartime activities; the intriguing consequences of her friendship with Churchill; her role as a chatelaine in London society; and her regular visits to the highlands of Scotland to fish for salmon - with spectacular success - in between launching the little black dress and other timeless designs.

The production values of this book are terrific: I've rarely seen paper of this quality in a mainstream book; and the photographs - many never seen before - are sensational. But this is far from being merely a beautiful picture book that will appeal to followers of style and fashionistas: it is a truly comprehensive biography written in Picardie's distinctively personal style which carries the weight of her thorough research lightly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic- I couldnt put it down!, 7 Oct 2011
The previous reviews on this book swung my purchase on this one as there are so many books to choose from on the subject, and it didnt disappoint!
I couldnt put this book down. Not only because it was so well written, well researched and detailed, but also the author really sets the scene for you when she visits places from Chanel's past, which I didnt expect, and it works brilliantly and brings the factual details and dates to life. If you're interested in Coco of just even the bohemian life in the 20s, this is the one you want.

(It may be of interest to note that many of the people in this book crop up in 'War Paint- lives of Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden (also purchased here on Amazon)- also an interesting book.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost in the glamourous world of 1920s Paris couture, romance and intrugue. Bliss!, 31 Dec 2010
This review is from: Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Hardcover)
I finished this in two days - I couldn't put it down. Chanel's life, loves, work and adventures really come alive in this absorbing biography. Justine Picardie has done a thorough and successful job in documenting the life of Coco Chanel, so much so that you feel as though you know her, her glamourous world of Paris and Le Beau Monde. As enjoyable as any novel, this biography is a compelling and fascinating read - loved it!
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute..., 24 Sep 2010
By 
LittleReader (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Hardcover)
This is the 4th bio of Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel that I have read and easily my favourite in terms of content. Readability wise, it's sometimes hard work as the typeset is small and entire pages of text can appear overwhelming. My advice - persevere because the depth of detail is staggering. There are many beautiful photos throughout (again, I would have preferred glossy photos), some of which I've not seen before, as well as snippets of letters and illustrations.

All the major aspects are explored in terms of her style, her muse's, her brand 'development' if you like - how did an abandoned little girl turn into one of the Worlds greatest style icon's? Chapters include information on her iconic statements - the linked C logo, the tweed, number 5, the riviera stripes and THAT bag - the 2.55 (I would personally kill for one!!!)- if any of these items make you salivate,this is a must buy! Essentially, she was a fascinating woman - a legend - and I loved the way JP humanised her and brought her back down to Earth by highlighting her foibles as well as her achievements and this really brought her to life for me.

Her journey is fascinating and excellently documented here - I have to salute JP!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tons of great information, easily accessible, 26 Dec 2010
This review is from: Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Hardcover)
This is a brilliant book, extremely well researched (in my opinion). The author has travelled to Auverne and most sites associated with Chanel, she has walked in Coco Chanel's steps, she stayed in the monastary, she visited the tennis court where Paul Iribe died, etc etc. Very stylishly written, the chapters are both topical and chronological (which takes some doing). Excellent photographs etc. Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coco - truth and her own fiction, 5 Oct 2010
By 
Jean Walker (Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Hardcover)
This is one of the most beautifully produced books I have had the pleasure of acquiring. And us lucky early orderers received it in a striking "book bag" complete with a Lagerfeld sketch of the legendary Chanel.

Unlike penny, I found the "diversions" into the secondary characters' backgrounds both fascinating and pertinent, and the unfolding of Chanel's amazing life with all its truths, half truths and pure fantasy, was skilfully done.

I can't add a great deal more to what has already been said by the other reviewers. I found it a most satisfying and rewarding read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read, 6 Feb 2013
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great book and a great read. anyone interested in fashion and Coco will enjoy this book. Well worth the money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely gift, 23 Jan 2013
By 
E. Wilson (Hereford UK) - See all my reviews
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This book would have been expensive in a shop, but was good value and quality. It came inside the time limit
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More the rather gilded legend rather than the whole truth, 19 Dec 2012
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I was curious to read this biography of Coco Chanel as reviews of it were mixed. So far, I am enjoying it and there are quite a few previously unpublished photographs of Chanel and her contemporaries, so the photograph content is excellent. However, I feel at times Justine Picardie is a little too reverential of her subject and tiptoes around some of Chanel's less pleasant characteristics. Otherwise, a good buy at an excellent price.
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Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life
Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie (Hardcover - 16 Sep 2010)
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