Justine Picardie has spent the last decade puzzling over the truth about Coco Chanel, attempting to peel away the accretions of romance and lies. In this full-scale biography we finally discover the history of the incredible woman who created the way we look now. Coco Chanel was an extraordinary inventor - she conjured up the little black dress, bobbed hair, trousers for women, contemporary chic, best-selling perfumes, and the most successful fashion brand of all time - but she also invented herself, fashioning the myth of her own life with the same dexterity as her couture. While Chanel was supreme innovator and vendor of all things elegant and beautiful, what lies beneath her own glossy myth is darker and far more disturbing. Living through two world wars, and surviving Nazi occupation of Paris by embarking on an affair with a German officer, Coco Chanel's life and the evolution of her brand are undeniably interlocked to her actions during this treacherous time. In this book, Justine Picardie brings the mysterious Gabrielle Chanel out of hiding, to celebrate her great achievements, at the same time as casting a clear eye over her transgressions. She examines Chanel's enduring afterlife, as well as her remarkable life, uncovering the consequences of what she covered up, unpicking the seams between truth and legend, yet keeping intact the real fabric of her past.
JUSTINE PICARDIE is an acclaimed author and journalist. She has written four books, including her critically acclaimed memoir, If The Spirit Moves You. The former features director of British Vogue, she is currently a fashion columnist for Stella, and also writes for several other newspapers and magazines, including the Sunday Telegraph, Harpers Bazaar and Red. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.