Coco Chanel. Legenda i życie
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Coco Chanel. Legenda i życie

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  909 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Misternie sporządzony portret Coco Chanel to nie tylko jej burzliwe związki, ale także fascynujące okoliczności, jakie towarzyszyły pomysłowi na "małą czarną" czy ukazaniu się na rynku słynnych perfum Chanel nr 5, tajemny język i symbolika, którymi kreatorka opatrywała swoje dzieła, niezwykłe znajomości i przyjaźnie, wpływ dzieciństwa i wczesnej młodości na późniejsze lata...more
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published February 11th 2011 by Dom Wydawniczy REBIS (first published November 1st 2009)
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Rebecca Grace
The author's sycophantic tone nearly turned me off the book in the first chapter. Yet, as fascinated as I am with women's studies and the cultural changes of the early 20th century, AND French history, AND art history, AND Russian revolutionary history, I've grown enthralled with the story of this fascinating life. Millions of girls were born in poor houses and raised in convents in the late 19th century, and most of them lived and died in the squalor and obscurity of their origins. Somehow Gabr...more
Lisa Rogers
I wanted to like this book but it just didn't make sense. A biographer should know better than to throw all her research at the reader, bit by unimportant bit, and then leave the reader to sort it out. The author is content to tell Coco Chanel's story by listing the things she says about herself, what others say about her, then never clears up the incongruence by telling us what her research turned up on the matter. As a result, I know less about Chanel than when I began! The photos are small, p...more
Audrey Gorden
First and foremost, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Being as familiar with fashion as I am, it was in fact an honor to go that deep into Chanel's life by reading this book. By reading this book the readers can not only get a sense of how the major label "Chanel" began, but this book takes us deep into Coco's thought process and emotions; a sort of behind-the-scenes look.

A main reason why I enjoyed the book is that we as the readers are taken back to Chanel's early days, and we realize that her...more
Adji
Coco Chanel led a very legendary life, which led to a very legendary career. I liked this book a lot because it showed us the real Coco Chanel even though; most of the things the fashion queen told reporters were lies. This book showed Coco Chanel’s strong points as well as her weaknesses. At the age of 12, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, now known as Coco Chanel, was shipped off to an orphanage with her older sister Julie. Their mother died at the age of 33 and their father refused to take care of th...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Legend is the consecration of fame.’

The name Coco Chanel is synonymous with style. But what of the woman behind the name: what do we know about the woman who designed simple yet sophisticated clothes, practical but elegant bags and shoes, and presented Chanel No 5 perfume to the world?

There is little simple about Coco Chanel. She was born Gabrielle Chanel on 19 August 1883 – a date that she later changed by hand in her passport. Gabrielle Chanel was born in a poorhouse; her parents were unmarri...more
Alfredo Ruiz
My literary massing of fashion books is small, but I have yet to found a well written one. Sadly Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life is not the exception. The writing is clunky and full of posed rhetorical questions which eventually get answered but do not need to be asked. Justine Picardie hits her stride in the middle of the book when there is a lot more factual information of Coco available (I dreadfully waded through her telling of Chanel's early life) but there is no literary bite. What do...more
Annie Oosterwyk
Why is it that what makes a person so amazing, also makes them difficult to be around? I probably would not have lasted five minutes in a room with Chanel, but she is fascinating beyond belief. I am still floored, thinking of all the important and influential people she surrounded herself with and the history she lived through. Her clothes are nothing that would suit me, but when the author talked about trying them on and the freedom of movement she felt, I was intrigued. I love that Chanel got...more
Ivette
Fascinating to me because I knew so little about the life of Coco Chanel. But I have to wonder what, if anything, this book adds to the literature on Chanel. The author did not actually get to interview her subject, as did several of the biographers who came before her. She spends a great deal of time telling us what biographer X or biographer Y had to say about this or that murky period in the life of Chanel. But she doesn't make anything any less murky. Also, her strategy of presenting Coco's...more
Hana
Clothes, for Coco Channel, were for freedom and forgetting. Women should be able to walk, to drive, to ride their bicycles and to forget what they are wearing. She replaced whalebone corsets and bird’s nest hats with loose trousers, Breton tops and sailor blouses, clothes that “women can live in, breath in, feel comfortable in and look young in”. The baroque evening gown was exchanged for that little black dress, worn with a single string of pearls. According to Chanel, her father then left her...more
Debbie
I had to read this for book club and what a chore - it is a white washed piece of crap - poor indexing and it mostly seems to be quotes for two others who attempted to write Chanel's bio. This author does EVERYTHING she can to soften, blur, and confuse Chanel's antisemitism, homophobia, drug use, all round bitchy-ness, and especially the facts about her Perfume and spying.
Kate Snow
Like many other reviewers who gave this a poor rating, I wanted to like it. However, the book was rambling, lacking in facts and I got no insight into the creative side of Chanel's life (apart from her creativity with her life story). Only at the close of the book was there a glimpse of her at work with her scissors. Hagiography at its worst and disappointing.
Lesley
Who needs fiction when you can read biographies like this? Very interesting life and very convoluted relationships.life today seems very tame when compared to her lifestyle.
I really enjoyed this biography, and woul recommend it, as I really didnt know anything about her childhood, growth of her business, war time activities, or her many relationships--
Anna Szkudlarek
"These colours are impossible. These women.....I am bloody dress them in black. I imposed black: it's still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around." Coco Chanel. Her little black dress was called "Ford" dress - chic, fast, sleek and discreet.

She designed clothes that made women free. It was all question of freedom - to be free to drive your car, to ride a bicycle, to walk to work, you had to be able to forget about what you were wearing.

There is a coat. I slip it on. Wh...more
Sara
I picked this up after watching the film Coco avant Chanel with Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel, just to see how close the movie came to the real story. Pretty close in many ways but I liked the movie better than the book.
This is written in a bit of a potboiler style, with soulful descriptions of cityscapes etc., but if you can put up with that, it's readable and cheap for Kindle. Picardie uses all the major sources for info about Chanel, including the authoritative book by Edmonde Charles-Roux. I...more
Steph
This book is the selected book for the April meeting of our book group. Tomorrow we will front up in black, wearing our pearls and Chanel perfume for our monthly Friday Ladies Literary Luncheon.I have made souvenir bookmarks for the group members with diamante buckles, black ribbon and mannequins wearing quasi-Chanel.


I loved Karl Lagerfield's sketches of Chanel illustrated throughout the book. The many photographs of Chanel and her circle are an important addition to the book.

I didn't expect to...more
Dini
Being such a famous and inspiring person, there have been many biographies written by several people. But this autobiography stands out all of those books.

One thing is that the book provides many details, but in a well organized manner. Also the writing style is quite easy to read and the author has set up the scenes in a brilliant way that the content is easy to absorb. Obviously, I found many facts which I have already read about her through other sources. But the unique thing of the book is t...more
Rebecca Bugge
The author could to 'the legend and the life' title have added 'the enigma' without being wrong.

This is not the biography if you want the definitive answers - either to Chanel's background, her love-life nor her exact dealings with the Germans in occupied France during World War II. The reason is simple: that would be an impossible task. The sources are scarce and obscured - much done deliberately by Chanel herself, who not only faked her year of birth when the original didn't suit her.

But I m...more
Amanda
Granted I can't afford the luxury that The House of Chanel sells, but I'm always fascinated by the lives of the glamorous people of the past. Unfortunately, today's "glamorous" people leave much to be desired.

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
Coco Chanel

The audiobook was excellent to listen to and went through Chanel's life, from start to finish. Much of what is told is questionable as Coco was never one to tell the exact truth about herself to anyone. Everyone seemed t...more
Oleksandra
This is one of my favourite non fiction books. I think it's very well written, I looked the way that every chapter in the book dedicated to one major event happening in Gabrielle Chanel's life. I enjoyed reading about every bit of her life especially the first chapter it was unusual yo the rest because it described her home and her childhood.
I think she told lies about her life and child hood because she wanted to change her life hot the way she wanted. I don't think her father was a nice perso...more
Emily
1920s. Fashion. Difficulty. A lot of appeal, basically.
This biography of Coco Chanel is pretty fascinating. I'd found her interesting since I found out the Chanel 2.55 bag was originally the same brown as the colour of the uniforms at the convent where she grew up, with hidden pockets where Coco used to keep her love letters and any spare money. I thought that was one of the best ideas ever. I had no idea about her Nazi past and that she was criticized for conducting an illicit affair with Hans...more
Tony Nielsen
I sometimes struggle with biographies with my short attention span but this one had me engrossed. What a formidable woman Coco was, remaining an icon in the world of fashion right up until her death at 88. She wasn't without her critics and this biography like others about her struggles to determine fact from fiction, such was her determination to keep her life private. Paris was her patch mostly, where she achieving success in spite of the Depression of the 1930's and Nazi occupation in World W...more
Denise Viljoen
You think you know the story of this women who revolutionised fashion with simple designs and got rid of the corset? I bet you dont. This a stunning book, filled with interesting stories and great detail. You get the sense that it has been meticulously researched, paired with great photos.

A great life, told brilliantly by Justine. I think the writing is deliciously descriptive, and explains such a complex character so well, even with all Coco Chanel’s secrets and different versions of stories, I...more
Julie
It must be hard to write a book about Coco Chanel, when there are lots of versions and stories about her childhood and early years. I had picked this one up at the bookstore, but being as broke as I am, got it out from the library.

There is something magical about the early pictures of Coco Chanel, she was certainly uber stylish and such a trend setter. She also stayed looking very young for a long long time.

I learnt a lot, I didn't know that she was a hunting and fishing gal, hanging out at Engl...more
Dallas Gos
Very well written, I felt like I was walking around with Picardi while she viewed Chanel's salon and apartments. She didn't talk too much about one single aspect of Chanel's life making it easy to remember exactly who you were reading about. A very well rounded depiction of Coco Chanel's life.
Diana Moon
amazing and beautiful photographs, valuable facts and information, an intelligent professional and creative way for incorporating mood and fruit into the writing, i love it! i have been reading about Chanel for the past two years, so some things didn't surprise me, as i actually compared them to how i have heard about them differently in the past, but newbies will be astounded, trust me! a worthy read of $40!
Jacqui N
Thorough, enlightening biography of Coco Chanel. The author does admirably well sorting out and bringing to light lesser known details of her life, and attempting to separate myth from fact, which is a daunting task. Abandoned to an orphanage at a young age by her hapless father, she nevertheless painstakingly made her way to the top of the fashion world through her resourcefulness, determination, and personal vision. I found this book engrossing.
Sophia Sun
I'm giving this a four out five mostly for the amazing collection of pictures and illustrations Picardine included as reference, clearly her access as feature director of British Vogue was in her favour and the subject matter was well researched.
The text for the most part, while informative, was plain and boring.
Sara
It's no secret that Coco Chanel is a hero of mine, and I've read a lot about her. This is the best biography of her I've read yet.

The book is treasure trove of photos, which really paint a fuller portrait of Gabrielle the person as opposed to Coco Chanel the Legend. Her life was filled with a lot of tragedy, and her last years were very sad, as she discovered she really hadn't wanted to end up alone after all. I see this as a cautionary tale for myself personally.

This book had several explosive...more
Yoonmee
It's probably pretty interesting if you're a huge Chanel fan and/or really into fashion, but I'm neither of these. I guess I'm not the book's target audience! =P That said, it's just a little bit dry. I got tired of hearing how pretty much everything reported about Chanel is up for debate because she lied so much about her life. I realize things were different back then, but the fact that Chanel lied about her life really turned me off to her. (Not that the brand Chanel really cares because it's...more
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“But I've wept so much,' she said to Delay. 'Now I don't cry any more. When you don't cry it's because you no longer believe in happiness.” 7 likes
“Saint Laurent has excellent taste. The more he copies me, the better taste he displays. - Coco Chanel” 4 likes
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