Win a Karl Lagerfeld Illustrated Coco Chanel Bio!

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Win a Karl Lagerfeld Illustrated Coco Chanel Bio!
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GIVEAWAY: Before your read our interview with the author, leave your name in the comments section below to win a copy of, “Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life!”

Last year, the biography Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by esteemed British journalist and writer Justine Picardie was published by Harpercollins. Picardie is such a Chanel expert that she’s tried on jackets from Coco’s original wardrobe, stayed at the abbey where the designer spent most of her childhood and even visited the Scottish village where Coco went fishing with the Duke of Westminster years ago!

Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld read the book and was so compelled by its content that he drew a series of illustrations and redesigned the book for reissue! You already know that it’s a great Fashion Week read, but yesterday we actually had the chance to chat with Picardi about the biography, her favorite Chanel shoes and where you might find trunks full of lost couture at a lovely luncheon hosted by Chanel.

When did you start working on this book?

I suppose 1998 was when I first interviewed Karl and went to [the Chanel] apartments and at that point I wasn’t sure that I could write a book…[if I would be] able to find enough new material to make it valid, but certainly that was when I first started thinking I really, really would love to write a book about Chanel.

This reissue of your Chanel biography includes illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld. What do you think that adds to the book?

I think that the illustrations are beautiful and I think that Karl is so good at capturing the essence of Chanel. The kind of economy of his line drawings…they look so simple, just a few pencil lines, yet are so immediately evocative.

[Karl] also redesigned the book, he has such a meticulous attention to detail so he chose the typeface and he designed the layout. [This is] very much his version, his creation of my original book.

Things never really end when you publish something, especially because the process takes such a long time. Have you learned anything about Chanel since then that you would have loved to include in this?

I want to do a whole new edition because I’ve learned new things. I’ve discovered more about the friendship and the working relationship between Samuel Goldwyn and Coco Chanel. I’ve talked about Chanel coming to design costumes for Goldwyn, but they continued to be friends all the way into the 1960’s.

After my book came out somebody got in touch with me from Canada. Chanel had two sisters, one of them died quite young and the other one also died young but she worked for Chanel from 1910 in Paris. Then she met a Canadian…[and] moved to Canada with 18 trunks of Chanel clothes that she took with her including a complete tea service and silver cutlery….I’m convinced that there will be some of her original couture somewhere in an attic in Canada!I

What’s your favorite piece of Chanel that you own and why?

[Takes off her Chanel flats to show me.] These shoes, these red flats, which I bought in Paris the day that I finished the book. Like you said, you never finish a book and I feel like I will go on. When I finally handed in my manuscript I bought these shoes because they are red, because of her saying that red is the color of life and we always need some red to remind ourselves of life.

* Winner of the book giveaway will be contacted via email on Tuesday, Sept. 27th

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A Karl Lagerfeld illustration from the book.

Karl and Coco, as illustrated in the biography.

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