Rhonda K. Garelick
- Title: Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History
- Author: Rhonda K. Garelick
- ISBN: 9781400069521
- Page: 157
- Format: Hardcover
Certain lives are at once so exceptional, and yet so in step with their historical moments, that they illuminate cultural forces far beyond the scope of a single person Such is the case with Coco Chanel, whose life offers one of the most fascinating tales of the twentieth century throwing into dramatic relief an era of war, fashion, ardent nationalism, and earth shaking cCertain lives are at once so exceptional, and yet so in step with their historical moments, that they illuminate cultural forces far beyond the scope of a single person Such is the case with Coco Chanel, whose life offers one of the most fascinating tales of the twentieth century throwing into dramatic relief an era of war, fashion, ardent nationalism, and earth shaking change here brilliantly treated, for the first time, with wide ranging and incisive historical scrutiny.Coco Chanel transformed forever the way women dressed Her influence remains so pervasive that to this day we can see her afterimage a dozen times while just walking down a single street in all the little black dresses, flat shoes, costume jewelry, cardigan sweaters, and tortoiseshell eyeglasses on women of every age and background A bottle of Chanel No 5 perfume is sold every three seconds Arguably, no other individual has had a deeper impact on the visual aesthetic of the world But how did a poor orphan become a global icon of both luxury and everyday style How did she develop such vast, undying influence And what does our ongoing love of all things Chanel tell us about ourselves These are the mysteries that Rhonda K Garelick unravels in Mademoiselle.Raised in rural poverty and orphaned early, the young Chanel supported herself as best she could Then, as an uneducated nineteen year old caf singer, she attracted the attention of a wealthy and powerful admirer and parlayed his support into her own hat design business For the rest of Chanel s life, the professional, personal, and political were interwoven her lovers included diplomat Boy Capel composer Igor Stravinsky Romanov heir Grand Duke Dmitri Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster poet Pierre Reverdy a Nazi officer and several women as well For all that, she was profoundly alone, her romantic life relentlessly plagued by abandonment and tragedy.Chanel s ambitions and accomplishments were unparalleled Her hat shop evolved into a clothing empire She became a noted theatrical and film costume designer, collaborating with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, and Luchino Visconti The genius of Coco Chanel, Garelick shows, lay in the way she absorbed the zeitgeist, reflecting it back to the world in her designs and in what Garelick calls wearable personality the irresistible and contagious style infused with both world history and Chanel s nearly unbelievable life saga By age forty, Chanel had become a multimillionaire and a household name, and her Chanel Corporation is still the highest earning privately owned luxury goods manufacturer in the world In Mademoiselle, Garelick delivers the most probing, well researched, and insightful biography to date on this seemingly familiar but endlessly surprising figure a work that is truly both a heady intellectual study and a literary page turner.
Recent Comments "Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History"
My ARC courtesy of Random House/NetGalley; much thanks!Biography of a fascinating and complex, though not very nice, woman. Focuses on the woman, rather than the fashion (which comes up; it's just not the focus).For a further review: susannagoklikes/post/11 .
This detailed and meticulously researched biography of Coco Chanel is certainly both readable and endlessly fascinating, with a wealth of information about Chanel herself and the times she lived in. The author has left no stone unturned to find out everything she could, but the result is a book that is in fact overly long and occasionally repetitive, with perhaps just too much detail. This is a shame, as the subject matter is so intriguing. The book is also marred by the use of (usually anachron [...]
Received Chanel No. 5 as a gift and curious to the hype about it, googled it, which took me to the woman behind, her rags to riches story and the controversy regarding her being a Nazi spy. I was captivated. She had my attention and I had to read a biography of this legendary woman. This is the 1st book I picked up and I think it captures all what is to know about Coco Chanel. It is a very detailed and comprehensive book, extremely well researched. I am very impressed by the efforts the author h [...]
Thank you to NetGalley.Although Chanel has been the subject of several books and films in the last few years, this biography promises to top them all. For the most part, it delivers. Garelick manages to position Coco Chanel as the central icon of the 20th century, connecting the dots between everything from women's suffrage (down with corsets!) to the seductive allure of Nazism (the sexy uniforms did for men what Chanel couture did for women!) and even the Kennedy assassination (Jackie's bloodst [...]
Garelick possesses a straightforward effective writing style, every word serves a detailed purpose, part of the draw to this extensive biography.An extremely comprehensive overview of the enigmatic Coco Chanel. I have read several books pertaining to Chanel, all revealing more or less similar information. Nothing was a revelation in this book, although fascinatingly entertaining nonetheless. No matter how much I read of this intriguing creature I am always captivated by her many flaws and artist [...]
Provided by Netgalley.This book had so much information, perhaps too much. I learned so much about Coco, especially about her early life. I found this book to be a bit repetitive; after reading the first chapter, we know that Coco lied to everyone about her upbringing and dislike people writing things about you. I don't need to hear it every other paragraph. Overall, I enjoyed the information and the integration of quotes from the Mademoiselle herself. I think the book was too long. 500+ pages i [...]
3.5 review to follow.
Mademoiselle coco chanel and the pulse of history by Ronda K Garelick THE BLURB Certain lives are at once so exceptional, and yet so in step with their historical moments, that they illuminate cultural forces far beyond the scope of a single person. Such is the case with Coco Chanel, whose life offers one of the most fascinating tales of the twentieth century—throwing into dramatic relief an era of war, fashion, ardent nationalism, and earth-shaking change—here brilliantly treated, for the f [...]
I did not care for the style of this book. If it was meant to be a biography, there was a lot of conjecture to Chanel's life! A streamlined "story" more along the lines of historical fiction would have been much more interesting. Also, there was too much background/focus on other people and political actions. I would have preferred a better focused, and thus more interesting book.
Mademoiselle by Rhonda K. Garelick was the most riveting biography I have read in a long while. Chanel's stranger-than-fiction life, her unique vision, and her many lovers alone make for fascinating reading. But Garelick's biography probes deeper and delivers a complex portrait of the 20th century's most distinctive fashion voice.Chanel was driven by a need for legitimacy and power, willing to do what it takes. She was a dictatorial and unsympathetic boss. She romanced friend's husbands, her fri [...]
Jacqueline Kennedy was wearing a Chanel suit on the day her husband was assassinated. Marilyn Monroe famously adopted Chanel No. 5 as her scent. Even earlier, Hollywood clamored for Chanel to design its productions. Producer Samuel Goldwyn tried several times (unsuccessfully) to secure her cooperation for a biopic. Finally, Katharine Hepburn brought her to the stage in the musical “Coco.”To say that Coco Chanel (1883-1971) brought fashion into the 20th century is no exaggeration. She had the [...]
When I saw this biography on netgalley, I was intrigued because I know the name, but not the person behind the name. Unfortunately, I didn't like Mademoiselle as much as I thought.It was very interesting to how she got into fashion, and what her early life was like. It did get very repetitive at times- it was tiring to read that Chanel wanted to re-write her own life over and over and over. Mademoiselle was very detailed and had a lot of information- too much information for me. There were times [...]
One of the most influential women in fashion. I have to admit that I do not own anything made by Chanel but it doesn't mean that I don't like the brand. The book goes through Gabrielle, the woman better known as Coco's life from her birth into poverty, through her rise in the fashion industry until her death. Although the author has included a chapter on the brand today. As a budding historian on mainly European history, I found it fascinating to see how Coco Chanel had managed to influence hist [...]
Garelick's biography of Chanel is well-researched and well-written. She occasionally throws out a tidbit based more on speculation than fact, but you can forgive Garelick because of the chutzpah with which she does it; the amount of interesting new information she's uncovered; and the stunning (but entirely plausible) interpretations of Chanel's behaviour distilled from new eyewitness accounts, newly released top secret government files, and Garelick's own vast knowledge of her topic. Coco would [...]
This is a comprehensive look at Coco Chanel's live with an intriguing focus on how she shaped and was shaped by certain historical events, including her involvement with the Nazis. Chanel was a mysterious, multifaceted character and I'd hazard a guess this book is the closest we'll get to understanding what drove her and why she made some of the decisions she did.
Oops, finished this a while ago and forgot to mark it! I learnt so much fascinating (and horrifying) information from this book, and it was superbly researched. The one thing that annoyed me was sometimes it felt like the author was trying to make connections were there weren't necessarily, but this was a really thorough, engaging look at the life of Chanel.
I really enjoyed this biography of Chanel. It is really well written. The book details the entire life of Chanel and the Chanel brand. It is a rags to riches story. I always enjoy biographies and movies about Chanel. This one is particularly exceptional. I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys a good biography or is interested in fashion.
i was fascinated. (no, not "fashionated" :)) It's a detailed and sober biography of a famous and complicated woman. Much of it is tragic, and some is disturbing. It's a worthwhile read.
To delve into Chanel's life, relationships, and influence during the mid- to late 1930s, as war grew closer, is to approach volatile territory, to enter the debate about whether Chanel spent the war not merely as a Nazi sympathizer or collaborator, but as an enemy agent, a Nazi spy. Loc4175By 1930, when Chanel was forty-seven, she employed 2,400 people and was worth at least $15 million, close to $1 billion in today's currency. To this day, every three seconds a bottle of Chanel No. 5 is sold; i [...]
The author writes well, and she brings the times in which Chanel lived and the people with whom she associated alive off the page. The book is informative, well researched, and the facts and conclusions are set forth clearly, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. In general, I dislike books that glorify business practices that were detrimental to the workers because someone eventually got rich. I appreciated that the author made every effort not to let her celebration of Chanel [...]
This was a very well done biography. I enjoyed the psychoanalysis of Chanel and the methodical way Garelick delves into the not-so-pretty parts of Chanel's life. She doesn't lionize Chanel but she doesn't unnecessarily bag on her either. The book is readable and a very intimate look at the early 20th century. It really delves deep into Chanel's effects on history and examines fashion theory. I truly enjoyed her chapter regarding Chanel's work in the Nazi party and how her theories of fashion fal [...]
Well not something I would have chosen, happened upon this by chance and chose because of the reviews. And they were right. What a fascinating person who rose to the richest woman in the world despite some very poor business decisions (only 15% royalty on that perfume) mixed with a totally different approach (encouraged all the other designers to copy her); who was somewhat nasty (abandoned her family as she didn't want to be associated with a rags to riches story); who made an amazing comeback [...]
This book, which I read for Scripps Book Club, is rather a slough. Like so many non-fiction books it was desperately in need of a editor with Chanel's famous scissors to do some slicing and dicing. That said since I knew absolutely nothing about Chanel it was interesting, although a lot of the book, deals with the stories of her various lovers. Chanel was a Nazi-sympathizer and perhaps spy and I was again reminded that this was not all that uncommon in France during WWII. The author continuously [...]
Liked this book a lot. Not like a novel, which I read fairly quickly -- with "Mademoiselle" I had to pace myself. Chanel was a fascinating woman -- her personal life was lousy (maybe due to the fact that she was so nasty?) but as a designer, and much more, she was an absolute genius. A real wonder to read about the trajectory of her life -- rising from nothing, and through the force of her endless creativity and vision, becoming one of Time magazine's 100 biggest 20th century personalities.
Excellent biography that captures the best and worst of this talented creator. How she returned from her WW 2 exploits is remarkable and a testament to our human ability to forget the terrible things people do. I learned a lot and need to think through why I still admire her despite her huge flaws. Worth reading.
Fascinating look at a fashion icon more for who she knew and how she became an icon than for the fashions alone. The history that surrounded her is as telling as how she became such a force in changing how women dressed and related to society and the changes that were happening through two world wars.
What a fascinating person! This biography was too far removed from its subject and the distance made some parts of questionable truth; I’d love to read one written by someone closer to Coco herself. Nonetheless I enjoyed the book.
Began well but quickly became too long and rather draggylots of strung out detail. Really worked at trying to like and finish this onedidn’t succeed. I would recommend Gortner’s, Mademoiselle Chanel, instead.
Very interesting book about an iconic woman! Also opened my eyes to how closely people are effected by the politics surrounding them!
The life of Chanel is fascinating! Set that with the history of the early 20th century and you have an excellent story.
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