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Chanel: An Intimate Life Hardcover – 6 Oct 2011
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|Hardcover, 6 Oct 2011||
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Chaney's research is laudable, uncovering fresh details of Chanel's well-trodden rag trade to riches story (Evening Standard)
About the Author
Lisa Chaney has lectured and tutored in the history of art and literature, made TV and radio broadcasts on the history of culture, and reviewed and written for journals and newspapers, including The Sunday Times, the Spectator and the Guardian. She is the author of two previous biographies: Elizabeth David and Hide-and-Seek With Angels: The Life of J.M. Barrie.
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Chanel was a very strong personality and a survivor, whatever the odds, but who was not averse to using men for that end. I found Arthur Capel (aka Boy Capel) an unlikeable man. Having married Diana Wyndham (but returning to his lover, Chanel), he insisted that she wear Chanel's clothes despite the fact that his wife objected! Incredible - and by today's standards he would be labelled an emotionally abusive husband. Chaney points out that Capel found his wife unreceptive to being told what to do and that she was not "docile". Capel was described as being more French than English in looks and behaviour so perhaps this attitude of having one's cake and eating it very much applied to him. His marriage to Diana was unhappy and they lived apart for much of the time, despite their having a daughter.
A good read, but perhaps an overly sympathetic one to its subject. The cover of the biography was expertly chosen as it mirrors Chanel's quilted handbag. A nice touch.
If I wanted to know in such detail about all of those people I would have bought a biography about them. The author seems more concerned about these characters than Chanel herself. She tells us about incidents in their lives and kind of just 'places Gabrielle at the scene' - she almost makes Chanel a bit part actress in THEIR stories rather than the other way round.
It doesn't really get down to details about the woman and it didn't really make me feel like I know Chanel any better than I did before I read the book.
I want to know details of her different creations over the years and I think there could have been more about this - with more photos to illustrate what Chanel style actually was.
It claims to finally unearth the truth about Gabrielle and her actions during the War, but it doesn't really. There isn't really anything new in this book about this iconic woman. Very disappointing.
Now I'm on a search through all the reviews of the other books about her now to see if I can find one that I will like better.
Oh, I almost forgot, I really love the cover. It has a black quilted effect, as a tribute to the famous Chanel handbags.
Would have enjoyed more photographs but altogether very enjoyable.
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