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Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From The World's Most Elegant Woman

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Delving into the long, extraordinary life of renowned French fashion designer Coco Chanel, Karen Karbo has written a new kind of book, exploring Chanel's philosophy on a range of universal themes - from style to passion, from money and success to femininity and living life on your own terms. For a live viewing of Chesley McLaren's illustrations you can visit The 4th Wall Ga Delving into the long, extraordinary life of renowned French fashion designer Coco Chanel, Karen Karbo has written a new kind of book, exploring Chanel's philosophy on a range of universal themes - from style to passion, from money and success to femininity and living life on your own terms. For a live viewing of Chesley McLaren's illustrations you can visit The 4th Wall Gallery. Click here for more info.


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Delving into the long, extraordinary life of renowned French fashion designer Coco Chanel, Karen Karbo has written a new kind of book, exploring Chanel's philosophy on a range of universal themes - from style to passion, from money and success to femininity and living life on your own terms. For a live viewing of Chesley McLaren's illustrations you can visit The 4th Wall Ga Delving into the long, extraordinary life of renowned French fashion designer Coco Chanel, Karen Karbo has written a new kind of book, exploring Chanel's philosophy on a range of universal themes - from style to passion, from money and success to femininity and living life on your own terms. For a live viewing of Chesley McLaren's illustrations you can visit The 4th Wall Gallery. Click here for more info.

30 review for Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From The World's Most Elegant Woman

  1. 5 out of 5

    Juliana

    The reason why i really like the book it's that the Karen Karbo writes is very different of many biographies. In this book she shows her point of view of this amazing woman who was Chanel, including self experiences. It is amazing how she was able to put the Chanel's rules into the modern society, not only telling the story of Coco, showing as well the story of Maison Chanel, as, for example, the difference between the actual Chanel and the old one. The focus in this book is basically all the th The reason why i really like the book it's that the Karen Karbo writes is very different of many biographies. In this book she shows her point of view of this amazing woman who was Chanel, including self experiences. It is amazing how she was able to put the Chanel's rules into the modern society, not only telling the story of Coco, showing as well the story of Maison Chanel, as, for example, the difference between the actual Chanel and the old one. The focus in this book is basically all the things that Chanel used to say and how she stood by those 'rules' until she died.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura C.

    Since the closest I will ever come to the world of couture is being addicted to Project Runway, I really enjoyed this peek into the rise of Coco Chanel. Truly a self-made woman, it she we have to thank for freeing women from corsets and upholstery fabric dresses. It is also her fault that fashion now favors the ultra thin and boyish figure, because she looked like that and made clothes for people who looked like her. She was quite a fascinating creature, and I give you a sample of her aphorisms Since the closest I will ever come to the world of couture is being addicted to Project Runway, I really enjoyed this peek into the rise of Coco Chanel. Truly a self-made woman, it she we have to thank for freeing women from corsets and upholstery fabric dresses. It is also her fault that fashion now favors the ultra thin and boyish figure, because she looked like that and made clothes for people who looked like her. She was quite a fascinating creature, and I give you a sample of her aphorisms here: Remember, this is the woman who brought costume jewelry into the jewelry boxes of the rich and famous, and never went anywhere without ropes of (fake) pearls and significant brooches, “It's always better to be slightly underdressed”, “How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone” (Agood one – but what does it mean?)”The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud”(That one usually gets me into more trouble...) “Gentleness doesn't get work done, unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs” (That is old news for some tyranical ex-bosses I know), and I must add this one, even though it isn't attributable to Chanel, but to “Old Hollywood”:What it takes to make it, listed in order of ascending importance: 3. Have some talent. 2. Know the right people, and 1. Be fun to be with. Last of all, my personal favorite: A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future” I did enjoy the book – it was full of bon mots, written in a chatty but intelligent style. I learned stuff, and had stuff to think about, which is a pretty good afternoon of reading.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Linda Robinson

    I liked this book a lot. I started smiling on page 50 and am still smiling. Karbo combines self-aware criticism with fashion history, weaving her search for genuine Chanel (original) with Coco's own inventive quest for fashion premierdom. Not sure about the life lessons stuff, but if you were raised in an orphanage, change your story with each telling, and proclaim yourself queen loudly and often, than Chanel has something to teach you. I liked this book a lot. I started smiling on page 50 and am still smiling. Karbo combines self-aware criticism with fashion history, weaving her search for genuine Chanel (original) with Coco's own inventive quest for fashion premierdom. Not sure about the life lessons stuff, but if you were raised in an orphanage, change your story with each telling, and proclaim yourself queen loudly and often, than Chanel has something to teach you.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Saad

    Why I read it: After reading about Steve Jobs and his obsession with the appearance of Apple’s gadgets, wanted to read about another icon who defined how things should look. My review: If you can get past the author’s fangirl tone, this is a well researched biography with some interesting insights on the fashion business and living a full life. There were more parallels to Steve Jobs than I anticipated. For example, on using others’ ideas: She was shameless when it came to taking credit for innova Why I read it: After reading about Steve Jobs and his obsession with the appearance of Apple’s gadgets, wanted to read about another icon who defined how things should look. My review: If you can get past the author’s fangirl tone, this is a well researched biography with some interesting insights on the fashion business and living a full life. There were more parallels to Steve Jobs than I anticipated. For example, on using others’ ideas: She was shameless when it came to taking credit for innovations that belonged to someone else, but if anyone objected, they were never able to make their objections stick. On perfecting a product’s feel and appearance: Chanel chose every fabric herself. She was suspicious of any color that didn’t occur in nature. She eyeballed buttons to make sure they didn’t look like “poison chocolates.” Then, the tugging, folding, patting, pinning, and snipping would begin. She would perfect the piece until she hated the sight of it, then it was on to the next.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    For the most part, I'm on board with Karbo's spin on Chanel. Part biography, part guide to life and a smidge of self help, I can let myself believe that I'm just chic enough follow Chanel's "rules of engagement" while reading. What threw me was Karbo's section on femininity. Specifically, when she declares that any good relationship needs some irrationality. And not just your run-of-the-mill whacky misunderstandings--but plate-throwing, tear-inducing, dramatics-flying irrationality. Karbo even g For the most part, I'm on board with Karbo's spin on Chanel. Part biography, part guide to life and a smidge of self help, I can let myself believe that I'm just chic enough follow Chanel's "rules of engagement" while reading. What threw me was Karbo's section on femininity. Specifically, when she declares that any good relationship needs some irrationality. And not just your run-of-the-mill whacky misunderstandings--but plate-throwing, tear-inducing, dramatics-flying irrationality. Karbo even goes so far to say that men expect women to act in such a way and that to act like a rational, stable and (dare I say)mature partner causes men to act suspicious and shifty. Embracing your idiosincracies is one thing--to act like a raging lunatic is another. And to suggest all females must act as such a lunatic in order to seem feminine is a whole other kettle of fish. While Chanel was a bold, outspoken, passionate woman, she was also the Mother Superior of simplicity (in both her fashion and how she lived her life). I doubt that she would approve of such outlandish and complicated behavior and certainly wouldn't condone it as typical and expected of women everywhere. One bad section isn't enough to ruin the rest of the book for me. Karbo uses Chanel's life and business as a model for the rest of us schlubs to emmulate. Taking advice from Coco on success, money, time, fashion, rivals and beauty can be helpful for those of us who need a little glamour in our day-to-day. Just skim over the femininity section and you'll be in the clear.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Really a two and a half. Three stars for the biographical info on Chanel, two stars for the writing, evens out to two and a half stars. I read this at the same time as I was reading The Paris Wife and A Moveable Feast for book club. It was a fun little synergy, as passing references to Hemingway are made in this book and passing references to Chanel were made in both of the Hemingway-related books. I really liked learning about Chanel and some of the "life lessons" made sense, but too often the au Really a two and a half. Three stars for the biographical info on Chanel, two stars for the writing, evens out to two and a half stars. I read this at the same time as I was reading The Paris Wife and A Moveable Feast for book club. It was a fun little synergy, as passing references to Hemingway are made in this book and passing references to Chanel were made in both of the Hemingway-related books. I really liked learning about Chanel and some of the "life lessons" made sense, but too often the author seemed to be "reaching" to make her point. She occasionally repeated herself, telling the same anecdote or making the same point in different sections of the book. And, as always, there were typos and mistakes that would have been caught by a copy editor or proofreader. (insert dead horse being beaten here) I thought she overdid the "gospel" bit in the last chapter, when she suddenly tried to write in "biblical" terms (and it was written, and it came to pass in the town of Paris long ago... etc). It came off as very forced-sounding and a little silly. Loved Chelsey Maclaren's (sp?) illustrations!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    It feels reasonable to presume that a work called "The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman" might be clearly organized into life lessons -- such as with a list -- or, at the very least, have a straightforward assessment of how Chanel became a style icon. This book is repetitive, poorly copy-edited and weakly written. Yes, author Karen Karbo did talk about how Chanel's style differed from that of her contemporaries and the fabrics she favored. But she It feels reasonable to presume that a work called "The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman" might be clearly organized into life lessons -- such as with a list -- or, at the very least, have a straightforward assessment of how Chanel became a style icon. This book is repetitive, poorly copy-edited and weakly written. Yes, author Karen Karbo did talk about how Chanel's style differed from that of her contemporaries and the fabrics she favored. But she kept making the same points over and over, and did I mention it was poorly copy-edited and badly written? If you don't care about Karen Karbo, who maddeningly inserts herself throughout the story, don't read this book. To be fair: The last chapter had style. Until Karbo took it too far, and I was reminded that this book wasn't worth my time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    I never cared much about Coco Chanel before. About a year ago my fiancé and I made an early night of an evening in San Francisco and caught the Lifetime movie Coco Chanel. There were mixed reviews about the movie but I enjoyed learning the life of this creature of fashion. The other day, I stumbled across this book. After reading it I am completely enamored. Her story is compelling, her achievements great and what I like best about her is her persistence. She never once gave up. She took it easy I never cared much about Coco Chanel before. About a year ago my fiancé and I made an early night of an evening in San Francisco and caught the Lifetime movie Coco Chanel. There were mixed reviews about the movie but I enjoyed learning the life of this creature of fashion. The other day, I stumbled across this book. After reading it I am completely enamored. Her story is compelling, her achievements great and what I like best about her is her persistence. She never once gave up. She took it easy from time to time not necessarily out of will but more of circumstance. Her course was set and she had such a strong sense of who she was the only thing I am left with is admiration. The author made the mystic of Coco Chanel come alive, this was a good read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jana Kaplan

    I loved this book! It was witty, and I learned much about Coco Chanel which I did not know about before. It made me love her (and her classic clothing collection) more! I don't appreciate what has been done to her design house since her death, but this book does give some perspective of how designers must keep to the times to remain relevant. I loved this book! It was witty, and I learned much about Coco Chanel which I did not know about before. It made me love her (and her classic clothing collection) more! I don't appreciate what has been done to her design house since her death, but this book does give some perspective of how designers must keep to the times to remain relevant.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I can't say much for the writing, but the story was interesting. I enjoyed reading about who Chanel was more than about the fashion though because one thing that would have really helped this book would be actual pictures of the clothes that were discussed! Fun read you can put down and pick back up again weeks later (like I did). I can't say much for the writing, but the story was interesting. I enjoyed reading about who Chanel was more than about the fashion though because one thing that would have really helped this book would be actual pictures of the clothes that were discussed! Fun read you can put down and pick back up again weeks later (like I did).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Star Forbis

    "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." "A girl should be two things: who and what she wants." "In the beginning was Coco, and Coco was Fashion!" "Fashion fades. Only Style Remains. And I am Style!" "Women are the strong ones." "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." "A girl should be two things: who and what she wants." "In the beginning was Coco, and Coco was Fashion!" "Fashion fades. Only Style Remains. And I am Style!" "Women are the strong ones."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    An easy fun read, with light and colorful info on the iconic woman who shaped the fashion industry, who most love and wish to own a piece of her vintage designs. Definitely a read for anyone who is interested in fashion and history of fashion.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nino Meladze

    Light, entertaining audio book with not much wisdom or wit. It was a nice distraction, but just that.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I wanted to love this book. It's part biography, part life lessons...seemed like a great concept. But I found that I was forcing myself to just get through it (I would have given up, but I'm not the type to leave a book unfinished). First, the book is so poorly put together, as though no one bothered to actually organize it. Although Chanel's life story is quite interesting (and the only reason it gets two stars), there is so much jumping around. It makes you dizzy. You're never quite sure when I wanted to love this book. It's part biography, part life lessons...seemed like a great concept. But I found that I was forcing myself to just get through it (I would have given up, but I'm not the type to leave a book unfinished). First, the book is so poorly put together, as though no one bothered to actually organize it. Although Chanel's life story is quite interesting (and the only reason it gets two stars), there is so much jumping around. It makes you dizzy. You're never quite sure when in Chanel's life you're going to end up just a few paragraphs away...either considerably in the future or back to her love Boy Capel or... you get the idea. By the middle of the book I couldn't help but think that perhaps the chronological biography should have been the first half, then the life lessons in the second half with the references to the biography. And it could also remove the many times Karbo repeats herself. Second, some of the "life lessons" just weren't something I'd ever recommend to take to heart. Chanel would lie and exaggerate about her past. Karbo actually recommends this as something to do. So Karbo's idea of elegance is to be unethical by lying? Perhaps in Chanel's day and age, this was "easier" (for the less moral) to do, but today it would be foolish given that anyone can simply Google your name and find out the facts, making you look like an idiot and your idea of elegance come crumbling down around you. So you have a shoddy past...who cares? Everyone loves an underdog. There's the life lesson of how it's better to err on the side of being a "witch" (forgive me for not using the cursing that Karbo unnecessarily peppers through the book). Chanel may have been self made and knew what she wanted, but let's be real - she wasn't a nice woman. There's a reason why she was lonely. I mean sure, if you have aspirations of being friendless and lonely at the end of your life as Karbo points out about Chanel, by all means take Karbo's advice on how Chanel was elegant in this manner and be that "witch." Another crazy thing? Karbo describes irrationality as pretty much a necessary component of femininity. I'm not talking about quirkiness, spontaneity, misunderstandings, etc. Oh no, I'm talking full blown "this woman is clearly out of her mind and needs to be institutionalized" irrationality. So basically now Karbo is encouraging you to be a witchy toddler throwing a temper tantrum. This isn't even getting into Karbo's CLEAR personal issues with Karl Lagerfeld (which pops up here and there) or the fact that she seems to just gloss over Chanel's involvement with a Nazi. Chanel obviously built herself an empire when fashion was seemingly a man's world and there are definitely aspects to her that are incredibly admirable. That doesn't mean everything about her was good or should be emulated. To clarify, Karbo wasn't at all implying you should emulate her being with a Nazi. But neither does she ever just come out and say that Chanel was flat out wrong sometimes. I understand the book was not meant to be a critique of Chanel's life or her decisions, but some of these life lessons could have been about how NOT to live your life (e.g. don't fraternize with the enemy just because you want a boyfriend). Chanel can definitely be a life to learn from on how to be your own woman in a world that wants you to conform to certain standards. But I feel like Karbo missed a great opportunity to do just that and came across more like a fangirl instead.

  15. 5 out of 5

    L.

    Although I think the fashion world is more ridiculous than most soap operas, I nonetheless do view certain designers as true artists. Coco Chanel may not have been Galliano-tastic or have the quirkiness of Gaultier, but she created a baseline of elegance that few designers have reached. The book is less about fashion, I feel, and more about creating the self. Chanel, like most designers, was her own biggest fan. She would have to be in the cut-throat arena of fashion. Her iconoclastic and legend Although I think the fashion world is more ridiculous than most soap operas, I nonetheless do view certain designers as true artists. Coco Chanel may not have been Galliano-tastic or have the quirkiness of Gaultier, but she created a baseline of elegance that few designers have reached. The book is less about fashion, I feel, and more about creating the self. Chanel, like most designers, was her own biggest fan. She would have to be in the cut-throat arena of fashion. Her iconoclastic and legendary status often overshadows her actual work. Who really knows about her work beyond the boucle suit and the #5 perfume? She has many great, albeit contradictory at times, aphorisms about topics ranging from the necessity of good shoes to what it means to be feminine. The author occasional critiques, or calls buls--t, on the philosophy of Chanel, but nevertheless admires the fashion icon for the same reason I do: Coco Chanel was who she was and made no apologies. In a world where women are simultaneously praised and prosecuted, Chanel is sometimes a reminder that greatness can be based in simplicity and not every woman wants to be a wife and mother, which does not make her less as a woman. She reminds us that there is a power in choosing, along with consequences, which are not necessarily negative but what we must live with in the end. Her "no regrets" philosophy appeals particularly to me, a woman swimming in a sea of petty regrets. It also inspired me to go through my wardrobe and really consider what I like to wear and the fact that a monochromatic wardrobe is easy to deal with. I even bought a few strands of pearls and glass jewels with chains.

  16. 5 out of 5

    JDAZDesigns

    "Cut to the chase, don't waste time doing stuff that seems to be essential to your life and business, just because other people do it." I read this book when it was first published. It's a quick read. But believe me, it's packed with goodness. This time through, I actually started to take notes. [Which, by the way, made me enjoy it less. I guess for some reason I thought I was going to write some compelling, witty, professorial review of it. Until it hit me: I read for enjoyment. Perhaps other pe "Cut to the chase, don't waste time doing stuff that seems to be essential to your life and business, just because other people do it." I read this book when it was first published. It's a quick read. But believe me, it's packed with goodness. This time through, I actually started to take notes. [Which, by the way, made me enjoy it less. I guess for some reason I thought I was going to write some compelling, witty, professorial review of it. Until it hit me: I read for enjoyment. Perhaps other people do too. Hmm... Go figure. Then the notes stopped. And the enjoyment returned.] Of course I love all things Chanel. I infer this author does too. This is the most comprehensive tale of history, lore and love. Put together with great rhythm, perfect words and timeliness. So, besides totally relating to the author's Chanel quest that results in her CIJ, there are pearls of wisdom to remember. Do what you want and don't give a damn. Style is knowing who you are. Be someone, not something. Err on the side of being chic. Being a good horse woman never fails to impress. One must be light. Never let anybody else do anything for you that you can do for yourself. And, of course, PEARLS!

  17. 5 out of 5

    BookMaven

    A Fun Take on Chanel This book is a humorous reminder of Chanel's life story and how this one woman single-handedly created the modern woman through her example as a woman who did it her way, as well as through her designs. Chanel dressed the contemporary woman as Chanel, herself, wanted to be dressed. For the first time in eons, women's comfort was taken into consideration, allowing the active, responsible, busy woman a wardrobe that reflected 20th century sensibilities, while still infusing lux A Fun Take on Chanel This book is a humorous reminder of Chanel's life story and how this one woman single-handedly created the modern woman through her example as a woman who did it her way, as well as through her designs. Chanel dressed the contemporary woman as Chanel, herself, wanted to be dressed. For the first time in eons, women's comfort was taken into consideration, allowing the active, responsible, busy woman a wardrobe that reflected 20th century sensibilities, while still infusing luxury and elegance, and flattering the female form. Author, Karen Karbo, respects her subject and her audience. With humor and reverence, she reminds us of who brought us the clothes, accessories and perfume, that we love, and that enhance our existence even today. Karbo recognizes that Chanel was and is a lifestyle package. She imparts the historical facts and wisdom of this fashion icon with a fun and very readable writing style. It was interesting to hear how Chanel influenced the writer. The writer sympathetically and honestly brought Chanel to life for us to enjoy. Thanks, Ms. Karbo.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I almost didn't pick this book up because the title was a little cliche and gave me the impression that this would be some sort of religious book. It's not. I think that if I were going to re-title it, I would go with something like Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman: Coco Chanel (though more catchy). I really felt like the subtitle did for me what the title did not. Lucky after reading the first few pages in the bookstore I felt like it would be a good book despite it's title. And I almost didn't pick this book up because the title was a little cliche and gave me the impression that this would be some sort of religious book. It's not. I think that if I were going to re-title it, I would go with something like Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman: Coco Chanel (though more catchy). I really felt like the subtitle did for me what the title did not. Lucky after reading the first few pages in the bookstore I felt like it would be a good book despite it's title. And it really was. In fact I'd probably give it 4.5 stars if I could. It's a lovely, light biography of Chanel that reads like fiction. It's not dry like some history can be. Of course Coco was a fascinating person and so it follows that a story about her would be good. I also recently watched Coco Avant Chanel (before I ran into this book) and that is what got me interested in Chanel and so when this book came into my life and picked up Coco's story where the movie had left off it was perfect. I'd recommend this book to a friend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    I bought this for a fashionista friend's birthday, and thanks to Amazon's timely delivery, had time to read it before I wrapped it up in some pretty paper and handed it over. Shameless of me, yes I know. I have to say I did not expect this to be something I would find even remotely interesting, but it turned out to be a fun and quick study. It is not the best biography, but as the title suggests it is not aiming to be such anyway, which makes its foibles easy to forgive. I found its charming lit I bought this for a fashionista friend's birthday, and thanks to Amazon's timely delivery, had time to read it before I wrapped it up in some pretty paper and handed it over. Shameless of me, yes I know. I have to say I did not expect this to be something I would find even remotely interesting, but it turned out to be a fun and quick study. It is not the best biography, but as the title suggests it is not aiming to be such anyway, which makes its foibles easy to forgive. I found its charming little factoids about the people in Chanel's life intriguing and learned about some very interesting people, such as Misia Sert and that Elsa Schiaparelli was definitely the original hipster (with a little help from Dali, of course). As far as being an adequate summation of Chanel's life, it falls very much short, but like I said before, it's not trying to be anything but a charming little book, which is neither time-consuming, nor does it spoil its naive superficiality by trying to take itself too seriously.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paulette

    Gabrielle Chanel, born poor, invented herself and left some of her history a mystery, as the author explains how Chanel often fabricated (ha) stories about herself. For that reason it was hard for me to take this book too seriously. The topical chapters, each devoted to a life lesson and some developed from Chanel’s own quotes, seem admirable yet lack a spiritual depth and accountability that left me empty. I defined Chanel a creative, shrewd, motivated yet calculating, mean woman who didn’t liv Gabrielle Chanel, born poor, invented herself and left some of her history a mystery, as the author explains how Chanel often fabricated (ha) stories about herself. For that reason it was hard for me to take this book too seriously. The topical chapters, each devoted to a life lesson and some developed from Chanel’s own quotes, seem admirable yet lack a spiritual depth and accountability that left me empty. I defined Chanel a creative, shrewd, motivated yet calculating, mean woman who didn’t live or die any happier than the rest of the world for all her hard work, as far as I learned in this book. I give 3 stars since Chanel research is difficult, the author spent time in Paris and purchased a possible Chanel fabric boucle remnant, that must've been fun, and the humor and asides made this an interesting read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    Mademoiselle Chanel is a very strong, opinionated woman. I would have loved to read more details of her fashion collections or see pictures, but that is not what this book is about. It shows the story of Chanel’s life & the choices she made. It was a very good read. The thing I didn't understand is how Chanel could disregard her past so easily (in the beginning being awful, losing her parents and growing up in a orphanage then wonderful and creating beautiful works of high fashion art). The past Mademoiselle Chanel is a very strong, opinionated woman. I would have loved to read more details of her fashion collections or see pictures, but that is not what this book is about. It shows the story of Chanel’s life & the choices she made. It was a very good read. The thing I didn't understand is how Chanel could disregard her past so easily (in the beginning being awful, losing her parents and growing up in a orphanage then wonderful and creating beautiful works of high fashion art). The past is what makes you who you are. I like the quote from this book: "...as you get older the past starts piling up like dirty laundry in a fraternity house." Overall great and I would recommend to anyone with even a slight interest in Chanel to read this.

  22. 4 out of 5

    ABC

    This is a biography of Coco Chanel. It seems that there was not a lot of factual information available, so there is speculation on the part of the writer. It ends up being charming, though. Ms. Karbo mixes old-fashioned elegance with modern wit. And of course there is her search for the perfect Chanel jacket. Read the book to find out if the author obtains one! This book gave me a hankering for Chanel No. 19, but I am pretty sure they don't sell that at T.J. Maxx so I probably won't be buying any This is a biography of Coco Chanel. It seems that there was not a lot of factual information available, so there is speculation on the part of the writer. It ends up being charming, though. Ms. Karbo mixes old-fashioned elegance with modern wit. And of course there is her search for the perfect Chanel jacket. Read the book to find out if the author obtains one! This book gave me a hankering for Chanel No. 19, but I am pretty sure they don't sell that at T.J. Maxx so I probably won't be buying any soon. One big negative of this book is that it lacked photos, forcing me to google Coco Chanel to see what she actually looked like.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linnéa

    I've always been a huge fan of Chanel- her house, her entrepreneurial spirit.. herself. Therefore I'm so happy that I was given this book as a Christmas present (which I gobbled up right away) because I now have the privilege of knowing what kind of person the world's most elegant woman really was. Frankly, she was a bitch. And to be honest, I'm kind of okay with that. Karen Karbo is definitely going onto my imaginary list of authors I love and appreciate, and this book is definitely recommended I've always been a huge fan of Chanel- her house, her entrepreneurial spirit.. herself. Therefore I'm so happy that I was given this book as a Christmas present (which I gobbled up right away) because I now have the privilege of knowing what kind of person the world's most elegant woman really was. Frankly, she was a bitch. And to be honest, I'm kind of okay with that. Karen Karbo is definitely going onto my imaginary list of authors I love and appreciate, and this book is definitely recommended by me to women, especially those with an affinity for fashion, history and wrapping the world around one's finger.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    A good overall view of Chanel's life with "life lessons" (some tongue in cheek, some not) thrown in throughout. This book would have been stronger if either the story of Chanel or the lessons took center stage, but instead it wandered back and forth between the two, never making the focus of the book clear. With that said, Karen Karbo has a sometimes-irreverent tone that keeps the book a fun read. I'm taking her list of books in the "Acknowledgements" section and adding most of them to my "to re A good overall view of Chanel's life with "life lessons" (some tongue in cheek, some not) thrown in throughout. This book would have been stronger if either the story of Chanel or the lessons took center stage, but instead it wandered back and forth between the two, never making the focus of the book clear. With that said, Karen Karbo has a sometimes-irreverent tone that keeps the book a fun read. I'm taking her list of books in the "Acknowledgements" section and adding most of them to my "to read" list. I'm not sure I'd recommend this book to a friend, but I didn't consider it a waste of my time reading it, either.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessebell

    “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”Coco Chanel Have to say that I was a little exceptical at first, because I've read Ms. Karbo's previous book about Katharine Hepburn and wasn't too crazy about it, but since a friend gave it to me as a present why not give it a chance? I was pleasently surprise. Ms. Karbo did such a good job introducing Coco Chanel to us, her sense of humor, personality and believes. This book should be reminder to women to live life the way we choose, no matter w “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”Coco Chanel Have to say that I was a little exceptical at first, because I've read Ms. Karbo's previous book about Katharine Hepburn and wasn't too crazy about it, but since a friend gave it to me as a present why not give it a chance? I was pleasently surprise. Ms. Karbo did such a good job introducing Coco Chanel to us, her sense of humor, personality and believes. This book should be reminder to women to live life the way we choose, no matter what everyone else thinks.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I have been so interested in the history of Coco Channel ever since I saw the movie "Avant Channel." This book is so great because it combines history of Coco Channel with her ideas and successes. It compares her opinions of fashion to her rivals of the time, also to Karl Lagerfeld designs, who has been chief designer of Chanel's fashion house since 1983. The book is fascinating because Coco lived a radical, scandalous, but beautiful life. I have been so interested in the history of Coco Channel ever since I saw the movie "Avant Channel." This book is so great because it combines history of Coco Channel with her ideas and successes. It compares her opinions of fashion to her rivals of the time, also to Karl Lagerfeld designs, who has been chief designer of Chanel's fashion house since 1983. The book is fascinating because Coco lived a radical, scandalous, but beautiful life.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Irina Preda

    I was so excited when I started reading this book. My excitement eventually faded and I struggled to go through the end. I expected more information about Coco's life. I thought I would learn so much more about her philosophy and style but I was very disappointed. I haven't learned anything that I haven't seen in the movies about her or read about her on line and the author's style was at times pretentious and it seemed unnatural. Not sure I would read any other book by her! I was so excited when I started reading this book. My excitement eventually faded and I struggled to go through the end. I expected more information about Coco's life. I thought I would learn so much more about her philosophy and style but I was very disappointed. I haven't learned anything that I haven't seen in the movies about her or read about her on line and the author's style was at times pretentious and it seemed unnatural. Not sure I would read any other book by her!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Oliver

    I sat with my computer open while reading this to be able to look up designs, designers, fashion houses, etc. as they came up. Not sure if that's why, but I found this book to be more interesting and educational than I expected. I cannot decide how I feel about Coco, and this book really didn't help as far as warming to her, but it was a fun introduction to her bio, and I am grateful for her contributions away from formal and towards ready- wear. I sat with my computer open while reading this to be able to look up designs, designers, fashion houses, etc. as they came up. Not sure if that's why, but I found this book to be more interesting and educational than I expected. I cannot decide how I feel about Coco, and this book really didn't help as far as warming to her, but it was a fun introduction to her bio, and I am grateful for her contributions away from formal and towards ready- wear.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Zala

    Fun, easy and relaxing read. I love the writers writing style. What I don't like about the book is that there should be more info of Coco's life because for those who barely know anything about her it's kind of confusing but I really liked the anecdotes. Definitely recommend it but before you read this book read a "real" biography about Chanel, so you'll understand it better. Fun, easy and relaxing read. I love the writers writing style. What I don't like about the book is that there should be more info of Coco's life because for those who barely know anything about her it's kind of confusing but I really liked the anecdotes. Definitely recommend it but before you read this book read a "real" biography about Chanel, so you'll understand it better.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Victoria H.

    Maybe I'm on the fence and could very well be a "dog person" in a "cat person's" clothes. A simile the author actually uses. Maybe I'm on the fence and could very well be a "dog person" in a "cat person's" clothes. A simile the author actually uses.

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