Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Review: The Gospel According to Coco Chanel

I finished The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo in pretty much exactly 24 hours. It's such a great read. Not as serious and therefore fabulous as Chanel herself, but very much worth the time. I would give it four out of five stars.

My Borrowed-from-the-Library Copy 
and Some of My Own Pearls which is very Chanel.

It was so enjoyable for two reasons. First, because of the amazing Coco Chanel. I've always been attracted to people who are not afraid to be themselves, even if those identities are not so mainstream. Chanel was completely confident in who she was in the present. I adore such strong, independent women as she. I also admire the woman for her sense of style. Her clothing was practical and actually looked good on a woman, and became classic. She also did not change her style so much through numerous collections. She remained who she was, even when her style was out of favor. And anyway, she knew she'd always win out. In that success, she brought women into modernity. I learned that Chanel was responsible for so much more than the Little Black Dress. So many things that always look good on someone may be attributed to Chanel. This wealthy woman even promoted costume jewelry. I personally love my perfume, Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere, which is a re-do of No. 5. What is more classic than No. 5?

Secondly, I like the author's style of writing. It read like a very casual conversation with an expert. She used modern references like "Brangelina" for example, alittle too much for my taste. Some of her foot notes are hilarious though. I suppose this style contrasts with all the biographies and other books she researched. In addition, she indulged in some girl talk about wanting to acquire a vintage Chanel piece for herself throughout the book. I liked how the book was organized by a series of life lessons such as "On Self-Invention," "On Embracing the Moment" and "On Cultivating Arch Rivals" rather than being strictly chronological description of the subject's life. It was simply fun. Such a great summer read.

Elegance to Chanel is all about luxury. Of course beautiful well-crafted artisanal goods are a part of luxury, but it's much more than that. She completely redefined the term luxury for me. Not interested in making oh-so-much money myself, I can actually have luxury, thus elegance. It's not about saving up money for nice things and services in life. It's about dressing appropriately for any situation. Chanel feminized menswear which is easier to move in, not restricting a woman to do what she needs to do in life, which was revolutionary in the 20s. It's about becoming independent by making a living oneself by being true to oneself. Most of what Chanel did was work. She never happened to marry. It's also about achieving simplicity. Chanel rebelled against the big, frilly look of the day, particularly when she started out in the 20s. She often arrived in a simple black suit.

Don't laugh if I host my apartmentwarming party in a little black dress and several long strands of pearls! I'm inspired by my latest style icon and her life.  

1 comment:

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