It’s with what cannot be taught that one succeeds. – Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Gabrielle Bonheur”Coco” Chanel is a mysterious figure whose past is fraught with ambiguity. As my favorite designer, and icon for female empowerment, I’ve done my fair share of reading on Mademoiselle Chanel. When I heard Paul Morand’s The Allure of Chanel was being reissued with illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld, I immediately had to get my hands on a copy.
Morand’s The Allure of Chanel stands apart from other books on Gabrielle Chanel’s life because the text is in Chanel’s own words. Mlle. Chanel invited Paul Morand to visit her in St. Moritz so that he could write her memoirs. Morand took many notes on his conversations with Coco on everything from hard work, beauty, wealth, aging and solitude. After the interviews, the notes were stashed away, only to be discovered after Mlle. Chanel’s death. Thirty years after the interviews, Paul Morand published The Allure of Chanel.
I read The Allure of Chanel from cover to cover in a matter of hours. Maybe it’s because I’m infatuated with the subject matter, or maybe it was because it will be the closest to hearing her speak in her own words, but I was hooked from the moment I started reading. It’s very rare that you can get a glimpse into the mind of a haute couture and fashion branding pioneer and Paul Morand gives us the opportunity. The illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld at the beginning of each chapter only enhance the experience. If you have any interest at all in Chanel, I highly recommend this book. The Allure of Chanel is available now online.
*I received a copy of The Allure of Chanel from the publisher.