Book Review: The Gospel According To Coco Chanel
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Chief Operating Officer, Jim Joseph, and Executive Director of Marketing, Publicity and Design, Ingar Forland, at Globe Pequot Press for an upcoming INK article. GPP is the publisher for the imprint skirt! which recently released Karen Karbo’s The Gospel According to Coco Chanel – Life Lessons From the World’s Most Elegant Woman. There’s been plenty of brouhaha over Coco Chanel these days. A recent revival of movies, books and buzz have paid homage to the great Chanel and so it was with a certain amount of glee that I obtained a copy of Karbo’s book.
Like the little black dress (invented by non-other than Chanel herself), Karbo’s little book is a pleasure to behold. The diminutive book fits nicely into your bag for take along reading. The cover is smooth and luxurious. Fashion illustrations by Chesley McLaren provide the eye candy. But this book was not written as just another biography of the fashion designer. This book provides a guide for the modern woman who wishes self sufficiency and empowerment the Chanel way. With wit and humor, and even a bit of that same snarky Chanel attitude, Karbo’s text provides a series of checks and balances for women navigating life’s many turns. I read it with greed. I might even read it again. Chapters listed as “On Style”, “On Surviving Passion”, “On Embracing the Moment”, “On Money”, and “On Living Life on Your Own Terms” while fun caused me periods of self reflection. “How do I measure up?” I asked myself, “How can I be better?” Karbo provided some answers.
Through the pages of The Gospel, we do learn snippets of Chanel’s life… her rags to riches background, the compulsive lying which created her mystique, and her success with and final rejection of love. But the biography portion of Chanel’s life is not the focus here. It’s the advice that makes it different and relevant. I especially recommend this book for my fellow ladies who are designers, artists, workaholics and creative entrepreneurs. Those who enjoy humor and escapism reading with good dose of savoir faire will also not be disappointed.
The Gospel According to Coco Chanel – Life Lessons From the World’s Most Elegant Woman can be obtained from the Globe Pequot Press website and from Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.
Karen Karbo is also the author of How to Hepburn, Lessons of Living From the Great Kate. Her writings can also be found in Vogue, Elle, Esquire, and Redbook. She lives in Portland, Oregon.