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Coco Chanel. Legenda i życie

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,148 ratings  ·  121 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Love Fool
Sleek. Chic. Notoriously guarded. Welcome to the secret world of Gabrielle Chanel.

I LOVE fashion and Chanel is the woman who started it all for me. Chanel is the symbol for class and I wanted to know all about the woman who changed the fashion world. This book was well written and very interesting. I learned so much about Coco I feel like I personally knew her. She is truly amazing.
Ruth
It took me a while to decide on the rating I should give this book. It is an interesting well written book.. So why three stars? When I was looking for a book about Chanel I was looking to find information and inspiration, as a young professional woman, a designer in a male dominated industry I wanted to hear her voice, to understand her creative vision, to learn more about her business decisions and how a woman from a plane background managed to create an empire in an era when women had to figh ...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
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.
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
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
CC
This is no biography. This is a HUGE disappointment. I wonder how this book made it to "Official Biography". Merely a pile of unfinished research paper draft, or trash, if you ask me. If you were to write a biography of someone like Chanel, at least dig up some truth. Keep quoting other people who interviewed Chanel and merely putting down the various versions of stories told by her is NOT QUALIFIED as a biography!
The only thing I learned about Chanel in this book is that she told nothing but li
...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
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--
JC
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/bo...

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.

“Extrav
...more
Dima the Driven
this book was both interesting and boring. sosometimes confusing and others times compelling. the author did a pretty good job of collecting stories and testimonies from people who knew Coco, but it seems like she didn't really get to the bottom of things in a thorough manner. kind of like she tried to peace things together from her sources but never actually investigated anything herself. does make for an interesting read for big fans of Chanel as the book has more to do with the woman's life r ...more
Linda
Disappointing. From watching a documentary on Coco Chanel the image of Chanel I got was an independent, smart, and successful business woman who redefined women's fashion; so I was looking forward to reading this book. But the image of Chanel you get from the book is that, yes she was into fashion but what she was really known for were her many affairs. I get annoyed when a book about a woman mainly focuses more on her love life than her successes. I get it, Chanel slept around a lot and didn't ...more
Emmabentley
I really enjoyed learning about the life of Coco Chanel & this is a comprehensive history. At some points though the writing was just too over the top for me, clutching at straws to make associations that weren't really there. I think the worst one for me was ''Give them chains. Women adore chains.' Perhaps she was being characteristically provocative; or possibly this was as close as she could get to an admission that she had not stopped yearning for the links that bind a woman to a man'. I ...more
Prue
I didn't love this book and I can't tell if it's due to the author's writing style or due to the fact that so little concrete facts are known about Coco Chanel's life, thanks to her tendency to stretch the truth and contradict herself. To be honest it's probably the latter rather than the author. I bought this book after doing a walking tour about Chanel in Paris. For me personally, the book didn't add much to what I learned on the tour. I would probably have been better off with a book on the H ...more
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
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
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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” 6 likes
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