The Gospel According to Coco Chanel – Review

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The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo

Age: YA – Adult

Karlo presents a mini biography of the famed fashion designer in this collection of anecdotes set up as a “What would Chanel do?” series of chapters.

I thought this book was sort of fun. Coco Chanel is an incredibly mysterious, and curious figure of the early 20th Century. She was born to poverty, living in an orphanage after her father deserted his children after her mother’s death. Chanel was famous of spreading lies and rumors about herself and never providing accurate information about herself at any given point. She made some very rich and powerful friends and lovers, all who helped propel her simple style and powerhouse personality to mass wealth and fame.

This would be a good beach read for any budding fashionistas. I am not really a fashionista, but I watch Project Runway, so I have a moderate appreciation and interest of the fashion world and those household brand names that are still way out of my price range (and probably always will be). The book also has quite a few typos, missing words and odd run-on sentences.

If anything, this book just makes me want to read a more thorough biography of Chanel, but I wonder at the validity of the information, since Chanel constantly lied about her upbringing and well, everything else about her life. She was incredible workhorse, wore only her own garments and lived below her means. She worked her seamstresses to the bone and had high standards for anyone that she came across.

Karbo did a clever job of mixing in Chanel’s life with life lessons in each chapter on a variety of topics from style to love to money to arch enemies. In her long life, Chanel definitely made it a point to break rules and create her own rules as replacements. She has a fun and clever writing style that makes the more entertaining and less textbook mini bio. This book is not just a collection of quotes that “How to be Lovely” was about Audrey Hepburn. This book actually examines the lifestyle of Coco Chanel and how us normal folks can incorporate her into our lives even if we can’t afford the fashions.

The Gospel According to Coco Chanel
by Karen Karbo
Skirt!, 2009
ISBN 1599215235
229 pages

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Find this book at your local library

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