Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel

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Coco Chanel and her trailblazing ascent from the gutter is brought to life in C.W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel. She began life as Gabrielle, the daughter of a seamstress and a peddler who eventually deserted the family. Raised in a convent, Gabrielle’s talent for sewing is soon uncovered, however it is her knack for avant-garde design that gets her noticed. She eschewed the gaudy, overblown designs of the Belle Époque for the sleek and minimal style that heralded the 1920s and 30s. But it was her relationship with Boy Capel, quite possibly the love of her life, that pushed her to open the millinery shop that began her empire.

Gortner’s novel follows Coco through World War II and to the unveiling of her 1954 collection–which popularized her famed ladies’ suit. Much of Chanel’s life is up for debate; she herself was a prodigious liar. He depicts Chanel as having an affair with her first patron, the courtesan Emilenne d’Alençon, yet Coco was a noted homophobe. Conjecture is a writer’s best friend. Perhaps we will never know the true story, but Mademoiselle Chanel is a fascinating, fast-paced look into the life of one of history’s most famous enigmas.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 416 pages
Publisher William Morrow
Publish Date 2015-Mar-17
ISBN 9780062356406 Buy this Book
Issue May 2015
Category Historical Fiction


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