“I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like.” Gabrielle Coco Chanel
I hesitated before writing this post… I wanted to write a story about one of the most fascinating women in history, but a huge part of me didn’t want to invent a bicycle again. And to be honest with you, Gabrielle Chanel was such a mystery to most people, even her friends, that no one really knows what is true and what isn’t…
Instead I am going to tell you about a book that I recently read because it made me realise, yet again, what an amazing woman Chanel was.
“Coco Chanel” is written Henry Gidel, the French author and biographer, who really does know how to tell a story and is very delicate with the facts and fictions. His Chanel is a real woman, with her weaknesses, secrets, victories, mysteries and passions. Unlike many other writers, he uses facts and, when possible, reveals the truth behind legends. His story sounds like a literally work, but at the same time, remains a well-researched biography essay, rather than a fiction-like novel. I can’t recommend this wonderful read highly enough.
On a personal note, I just want to say that after reading this biography I fell in love with the magic of Coco Chanel all over again. She invented herself, changed everything she didn’t like about her past including her date of birth. She broke every single rule because they didn’t suit her and then made the entire world follow her own. She kept her broken heart and emotions hidden away, from the moment her father abandoned her in that cold and grey orphanage in the monastery of Aubazine.
A stubborn little fighter, all her life she did her best to remain strong and used her memories as an inspiration and driving force behind new collections and creations. She was a muse and a generous, caring and loving friend for artists, composers and poets. She influenced the royalty and the poor. She became a symbol of pure timeless style and created dreams.
And… above all else, she was just a fragile woman who was really afraid to be left alone… especially at night, in her apartment or room at Ritz. Her lovers and friends were gone and the work became her life because… “there is time for work, and time for love, that leaves no other time…”
She left us on Sunday, the day she hated the most.