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Monday, April 19, 2010

READ THIS: The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From the World’s Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo

"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." -Coco Chanel 

We love history!  We love fashion!  (the good kind, of course!)  So, we loved The Gospel According to Coco Chanel.  Though it may seem to you this is a coffee-table book, we agree it would be stunning on the poshest of coffee tables but do not be fooled: this is not for the un-serious reader looking for a picture book of fashion.   We are so happy it has substance!

Karen Karbo successfully intellectualizes the philosophy of Chanel and her life's mission, and in over 200 fascinating pages you will meet the woman behind the iconic brand who we wish were still alive today, designing away.  It is not the same without her, and when you read this masterpiece, you will see why.  

You'll remember we did a children's book on Chanel:

We like people who are different in a remarkable, positive way, and Chanel was this to a T.   Ordinary people bore us.  When we review books, we read with a highlighter in hand. This book is so colored in we shudder at the amount of time it will take to do the review, but there are so many good points Karbo makes and so many notable aspects we want to highlight in return.

First of all, this book is for the person who seriously likes Chanel or simply the history of fashion.  As many own private Chanel collections, we are not surprised we do not write about them more in Advantageous Auctions.  Seriously, it is just a matter of time....

"In the beginning was Coco, and Coco was fashion, and Coco said to the multitude, fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.  Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." [page 221]

From the minute Chanel opened her business in 1909/1910, it was destined for success.  Her sharp, determined personality would accept nothing less.  We love that she was opinionated long before anyone cared what she thought, [Karbo says this on p.16.]  A risk taker, she was dedicated to her work and let nothing stand in her way.   One of her legacies is that a bottle of Chanel No. 5 is sold somewhere in the world ever 55 seconds and is the best selling perfume in history.  Also, she was the one that made the suntan fashionable.  Living life on her own terms, Chanel was not necessarily a rule breaker, rather, she was a rule inventor and her rules were the only ones that mattered.  Her words of wisdom are interspersed throughout the tale, and we won't repeat them as we want you to read the book! 

Fearless, passionate, and excellent at what she did, Chanel is a legend, an icon, and God's gift to fashion.  We wish we could interview her.  You must read The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From the World’s Most Elegant Woman.  We highly recommend it.


The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From the World’s Most Elegant Woman (skirt! Books, an imprint of GPP; September, 2009; ISBN 978-1-59921-523-5; $19.95; Hardcover), New York Times Notable author Karen Karbo takes a captivating, offbeat look at Coco Chanel and her style, celebrity, and self-invention – just in time for the release of the Warner Brothers film Coco Before Chanel, releasing in the U.S. on September 25.  

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.  Weaving Chanel’s life story into chapter themes that subtly convey life lessons, and with Chesley McLaren’s charming illustrations, it will leave the reader utterly entranced with, and inspired by, Chanel’s amazing individuality, confidence, and determination.

Karen Karbo is a novelist, journalist, and witty, no-nonsense social commentator, and is the author of How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great, a biography-cum-guidebook the Philadelphia Inquirer called “an exuberant celebration of a great original.” Karbo is also the author of Minerva Clark Gives Up the Ghost, the third installment in a trilogy about a seventh-grade girl detective who has a peculiar gift: self-confidence. Karbo’s debut novel, Trespassers Welcome Here, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and all three of her novels have been named New York Times notable books. The Stuff of Life, her memoir about her father, was a People Magazine Critic’s Pick and winner of the Oregon Book Award. Her work essays, reviews, and articles can be found in Outside, Elle, Vogue, Esquire, Redbook, More, Self, Entertainment Weekly, the New Republic, the Oregonian, and the New York Times.  She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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