Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life Paperback – November 27, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“Stuffed with just-so details as it sketches the arc of a remarkable life.” — Harper's Magazine
“Relying on newly released love letters, private diaries, and reminiscences . . . and using Chanel’s own words wherever possible, Chaney reveals the woman behind the icon. . . . Most important here is Chaney’s insight into Chanel’s role in creating the modern, independent woman.” — Library Journal
"Chaney’s engagement with her subject is evident throughout, and her exhaustive research into Chanel’s life—especially its darker, more enigmatic corners—and the cultural history she so profoundly impacted make the book as fascinating as it is informative." — Kirkus Reviews
“Deeply researched, Chaney’s enthralling biography unearths previously unavailable sources to reveal the elementally conflicted yet unequivocally gifted woman whose name will always be synonymous with sophistication and originality.” — Booklist
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I've read a few biographies of Chanel (by Edmonde Charles-Roux, Justine Picardie, etc.) and I felt this really was the best one. It has a lot of new discoveries about Chanel herself, her relationship with Capel (including some very moving love letters) and with Grand Duke Dmitri (the author quotes his diary, which had apparently never been published before), Dali, WW2, her bisexuality and use of drugs - unlike all other recent biographies I've read, which seemed to repeat a lot of material and not really introduce anything new.
I thought it was really helpful that the author took time to explain the social and historical context that Chanel lived in, it helps avoid anachronisms and there are quite a few interesting insights into the evolution of French society at that time. The analysis of the amazing artistic scene Chanel was part of (Picasso, Stravinsly, Diaghilev, Cocteau, Dali) with an emphasis on Chanel's huge importance in the development of 'the Modern' was quite new to me but I thought it was fascinating.
The chapter on fashion and its history/role in society (including Chanel's views on the subject) was also fantastic.
Chaney is less caricatural than most on Chanel's politics - she found out that Chanel bankrolled a powerful French left-wing magazine, was a close friend of Jean Renoir and had an important affair with an exiled Spanish Republican (communist) sculptor in the late 1930s for instance, which I'd never heard before.
All in all, a very moving portrayal of Chanel, with a lot more new research and in-depth analysis than most others out there.
To understand Chanel you have to consider the actual childhood and the childhood she imagined and the power of her first experience of being in love with Arthur Capel. He loved her too, but her common roots and her growing success made the aristocratic Diana Wyndham a safer choice. His life, his views expressed through his writing, his success and her youth make his marriage and his death are defining moments for Chanel. Subsequent liaisons could not measure up, and the men that possibly could have filled his shoes seemed to want to compete with her as she became more and more successful.
Lisa Chaney suggests that Arthur Capel may have committed suicide. I had wondered this, since the accounts of the accident, and the film portrayal of the scene would suggest whiplash and not a burned body. From the newly discovered letters, and his continuing relationship with Chanel after his marriage, he was under enormous strain.
Her success makes it hard to believe the first hand reports about Chanel's drug use. The number of sources and their close relationships with Chanel make them credible. That Reverdy, a lover who in 1924 left Chanel citing her addiction as a reason, means that she functioned as an addict for almost 50 years.
Chanel's circle includes some of those in the Hemingway-Fitzgerald orbit, but, in this book, these American ex-pats hardly figure. There is only one mention of the Fitzgeralds, a passing reference at that.
This book covers one aspect of her life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very tedious to read. Too much info about everyone in Coco Chanel's life, too much to keep up with and much of the bio was impertinent. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Martha I. Gainer
I give this book five stars! I never knew a biography could be this interesting to read and I am amazed to how rich and interesting one’s life can be as Chanel's was. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Julie Apples
Book was in good condition n it serves it's purpose as decoration on my side table!!Published 5 months ago by shronda glenn