Gabrielle Chanel, more frequently known as "Coco Chanel," shook up the codes of women’s fashion, emphasizing designs that allowed women to move freely and without hindrance. A true icon of style, the designer imagined a modern, timeless wardrobe, combining chic and comfort, whose legacy is still very present in the style vernacular of today. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her death, here are 3 books that will allow you to (re)discover her journey and quintessential style.
Coco Chanel: The Illustrated World of a Fashion Icon by Megan Hess
Famous fashion illustrator Megan Hess traces the personal and professional history of Gabrielle Chanel through a collection of drawings, punctuated by key moments that shaped her life and career. The book also features the most emblematic pieces of Coco Chanel’s style, from the little black dress to the tweed jacket and one of the most famous perfumes in the world, Chanel N°5. A tome that makes the reader realize just how much this inimitable style still influences, even more than ever, current fashion. It also serves as an anthology of the most delicious quotes from the founder of the maison in Paris’s rue Cambon. (Hardie Grant Books: US$24.99)
Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Rhonda K. Garelick
If you thought you knew everything there was to know about Gabrielle Chanel, this book could prove that you only in fact know a few of the most famous stories and anecdotes that marked the life of the French designer and great couturier. Rhonda K. Garelick not only highlights the influence that Gabrielle Chanel had — and still has — on women’s fashion, but also places each moment in a very specific historical and social context, thus retracing the journey of the young girl who spent several years in the orphanage of Aubazine Abbey before building an empire and becoming a world icon. (Random House: US$16.98)
Gabrielle Chanel - Fashion Manifesto (official exhibit catalog)
The Palais Galliera museum in Paris has imagined, with the support of Chanel, the first retrospective dedicated to the French designer Gabrielle Chanel, 50 years after her death. While waiting for the reopening of the museum, you can immerse yourself in the official catalog of the exhibition, which looks back at the evolution of Chanel’s style, from the jersey striped sailor top from 1916 to a selection of dresses from the 1930s and chic sportswear. The book includes numerous photographs and illustrations, and also focuses on Chanel N°5, one of the must-haves of the designer’s style. (Thames & Hudson: 45 UK pounds)