As every style-obsessed woman knows, 2011 was the year of the Chanel biography. Having seen the fashion films Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky and Coco Before Chanel, starring Audrey Tautou as the adorable singer/hatmaker/couturière on the rise, we here at the Brooklyn Gal couldn’t resist jumping on the Coco bandwagon yet again.
At the moment we’re about halfway through Lisa Chaney’s Coco Chanel, An Intimate Life, which seems to grow more intriguing by the chapter. Should we still find ourselves curious about the designer’s dark side, including her alleged Nazi sympathies (quelle horreur — how could it be so?), we may even dip our toe into Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life by Justine Picardie or Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War by Hal Vaughan.
Or perhaps we will just revisit yet another Chanel homage, a lovely novel by Gioia Diliberto
called The Collection about Isabelle Varlet, a wide-eyed seamstress from a tiny town in France who moves to Paris and takes a job in the atelier of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel.
Blending historical facts with a compelling story, much as she did with her page-turner I Am Madame X, Diliberto takes us on a ride back to the world of high fashion after World War I. Weaving together characters both real and imagined, she paints a portrait of Mademoiselle Coco that’s ultimately flattering and one of Jean Patou, that’s far less so. Though a work of fiction, we happen to think it’s essential reading for any fan of fashion.
A strange thing happened the other night in Nyack, New York: the Brooklyn Gal got into the goddess groove.
We’ve never considered ourselves, well, particularly mystic or otherworldly, we’ve never studied ancient myths, Greek or otherwise, with scholarly intensity, we’ve never even hummed Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon,” that Stevie Nicks’ chestnut, inspired by the Welch lunar goddess. And yet, there we were, on a crisp fall night, whirling around a yoga studio-turned-party room, hands joined with men and women of all stripes, celebrating the release of photographer Lisa Levart’s glorious new book, Goddess on Earth, Portraits of the Divine Feminine (LUSH Press).
A visual feast printed in Verona, Italy, Lisa’s hardcover volume features women ages 8 to 99, from doctors, designers and psychiatrists to renowned actresses Karen Allen, Olympia Dukakis, Lisa Gay Hamilton and best-selling authors Isabel Allende, Madhur Jaffrey and Rose Styron. Each woman is powerful and awe inspiring in their everyday life; each transformed, as if by magic, into a strong, beautiful goddess of their choice by Lisa’s lens.
Whether Celtic or Roman, African or Egyptian, the goddesses’ stories transcend the ages, and so do Lisa’s exuberant, life-embracing photos. Her book may be called Goddess on Earth but these images are most definitely celestial.
Jean Seberg knew a thing or two about French style!
Why does French style never fail to intrigue the Brooklyn Gal? It’s not the way French femmes tie their Hermès scarves. Even though we do admit to a bit of scarf envy, having no skill in this area whatsoever, we have no burning desire to learn the ins and outs of wrapping la neck.
Like any fashion lover we revere the big guns such as YSL, Dior and Chanel and we heart Isabel Marant, bien sûr, but our attraction is more than label lust. Stating the obvious, there’s just something about the way Gallic girls put it all together. They have the knack for turning the most basic pieces like, say, the classic striped tee, into knockout outfits. It’s just a fact.
Which is why we are looking forward to the stateside arrival of La Parisienne, the new book from Inès de la Fressange that’s already causing a stir in her homeland, or at least, at Colette, where it appears to be sold out. (According to Barnes & Noble’s site the book can be pre-ordered now for April delivery in the U.S.)
De la Fressange, as most style observers know, is not only the paragon of chic, she’s also a former runway model and creative consultant to Roger Vivier, so she knows a thing or two about living la viva Parisienne. What’s between the covers? Apparently everything we need to know about channeling the spirit of French chic, from the art of mixing high- and low-fashion finds to the right way of adding a touch of Parisian style to your home to her favorite places to shop, all straight from la source.
C’est magnifique! Now if only we could zip off to the City of Lights toute suite and pick up our very own copy .