As I was entering the NY Review of books tonight after flicking through it quickly, I noticed that a new biography of Coco Chanel has been published and will be out tomorrow. Written by Rhonda K. Garelick, it is titled “Mademoiselle : Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History“. I have always been fascinated by her and how she became such a huge hit in the fashion world. The article features some interesting tidbits about her that I didn’t know. Gabrielle Chanel (her real name) had a horrible childhood, and was sent to a religious orphanage, where she learned to sew. She began work as a seamstress, moved on to become a courtesan, and later fell in love with an English businessman who began to advise her about her business. He later married and was killed shortly after, which the author attributes as being responsible for Chanel’s subsequent cynicism. She had an affair with a German officer during the war, and actively collaborated with the Germans.
The NYPL catalog lists more than 85 books about Coco Chanel, and this is one more for the collection. I plan on reading it and will update this post.