The only books I’m reading these days are Chanel biographies because there are at least five books that have come out this fall about Coco Chanel and I’m reviewing them all. For forty years, writers have tackled the life of Coco Chanel and with the exception of Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life and Sleeping With the Enemy – where the authors had access to intelligence that was never before available – you may wonder what more can be said on the subject of Coco Chanel’s life. I was wondering the very same thing when I set out to read Coco Chanel by Linda Simon.
Coco Chanel by Linda Simon is a very quick read going through Chanel’s life from childhood all the way to Karl Lagerfeld picking up the reins. While many of the aspects of Chanel’s life that are already documented in other biographies are glossed over, Simon distinguishes her biography of Chanel by the wealth of fashion research she has done. Of all the biographies of Coco Chanel that I have read, Linda Simon’s relies most on fashion primary source materials such as fashion and women’s magazines and newspapers. For the first time, I learned in detail about the wider context in which Coco Chanel’s fashions were viewed. While I had read about most of what was in this biography, there were a few facts here and there that I learned from reading Coco Chanel. If you want something very in depth on Coco Chanel this is probably not the read for you. If you want to read a book that does a good job of summarizing Chanel’s life, rounded out with a good dose of fashion history then I would recommend this book. You can purchase Coco Chanel by Linda Simon on Amazon.com.