I have all of the biographies, novels and museum exhibition books published about Chanel in the past twenty years. This new book is a treat for both Chanel lovers and fashionistas.
Author Daniele Bott takes five central themes - the suit, the camellia, jewelry, fragrances, make-up and the LBD (little black dress) and sends us on a journey from the first showing of each item through its many reincarnations. You see how many times designers and the Chanel House itself has re-imaged Chanel creations from over a century ago.
There are over 159 illustrations - 101 of them in color. Many of the photographs have never been seen before and were taken by the greatest names in fashion photography.
My favorite two page spread features a display of the different Chanel buttons used on suits over the years. Another features Chanel fitting Ingrid Bergman in her Chanel suit for a scene in Tea and Sympathy. There are pictures of her original make-up packaging (Chanel thought about travel sizes in make-up long before anyone else), and her push up lipstick created in 1926. Imagine a 2-page spread sea of red Chanel lipsticks or an exclusive, entirely hand crafted logo makeup brush with 16,000 silk strands and the double C logo in the middle.
Chanel was famous for mixing costume jewelry with the real thing and costume jewelry designers (most notably Joan Rivers) have made their fortunes with variations of her original Maltese cross and faux pearl designs.
Every single photo exudes the Chanel style of understated elegance and luxury. For over a century, CoCo Chanel and now Karl Lagerfeld have kept the look and its history alive. This book carries on that tradition.
I also highly recommend:
Jacques Helleu and Chanel by Jacques Helleu which features over four decades of Chanel print ads and commercials.