She revolutionized how women looked. She banned corsets, shortened skirts and scented the world with Chanel No.5. Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel was an icon. But how closely did her carefully moulded image match the truth? Born illegitimate and raised in an orphanage - not by the two aunts that she invented - Gabrielle Chanel fought constantly to escape the mundane. She rose from back-street milliner to become the head of a vast business empire, and socialised with Picasso, Stravinsky and Cocteau. Edmonde Charles-Roux also reveals one of Chanel's best-kept secrets - her love affair with a prodigal German spy. Chanel's legend did not fade with her death, and nor has the mark of sheer elegance that she left upon the world of fashion. This is the living woman behind the vibrant legend. First published in France 1974; this translation 1975.
Acknowledgements. Foreword. Origins 1792-1883. Gabrielle's youth 1884-1903. A False Start 1903-1905. The Keepers and the Kept 1906-1914. The Foundations of an Empire 1914-1919. The Slavic Period 1920-1925. A Victorian Illusion and its Aftermath 1925-1933. Of Divers Dances 1933-1940. The German Period 1940-1945. First Epilogue 1945-1952. Second Epilogue 1953-1971. Notes. Index.