Monday, July 28, 2014

A Remarkable Woman and Her Era: Coco Channel

Gabrielle Channel, nicknamed Coco, was a remarkable woman. In childhood she was deserted by her family. Her mother died and her father, and itinerant paddler, showed no interest in caring for his children. Likewise, her grandparents didn't take the children, so she grew up in a Catholic orphanage. Feeling abandoned by her family left a lifelong mark on Channel. She wanted desperately to be part of a family and more than that part of the elite. This desire led her into affairs with powerful titled men, like the Duke of Westminster. It also brought her
into collaboration with the Nazis in a desire to be part of an elite organization.

The book was very well written. The history was presented in context of how it affected Channel and her fashion empire. I found some of the most interesting parts dealt with the relationship between Coco's view of fashion and how it fit the era in which she worked. This was particularly true during WWI and later after WWII when her clothing attracted an American market.

The pictures in the text are a plus. You are able to see what the Channel fashions looked like as well as her lovers and friends. I found the book both informative and enjoyable. I highly recommend it if you are interested in fashion, or in the psychology of a highly successful woman.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.