Happy Birthday W. Somerset Maugham

Today is the 141st birthday of the writer W. Somerset Maugham.  I was given a copy of “The Razor’s Edge” quite a while ago by a former employer stating “this is one of my favorite books and novels.”  He meant that he liked the story and like the look of the book, physically.  The book was given to him by the matriarch of a very prominent Seattle family when she was closing up and selling off her properties on the San Juan Islands.  I still have it and I hope to do the same with it one day.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

Born: 25 January 1874 UK Embassy, Paris, France
Died: 16 December 1965 (aged 91) Nice, France
Occupation: Playwright, novelist, short story writer
Notable works: Of Human Bondage, The Letter, Rain, The Razor’s Edge

Today is the birthday of W. Somerset Maugham, born in Paris (1874). His father was in Paris as a lawyer for the British Embassy. When Maugham was eight years old, his mother died from tuberculosis. His father died of cancer two years later. The boy was sent back to England into the care of a cold and distant uncle, a vicar. Maugham was miserable at his school. He said later: “I wasn’t even likeable as a boy. I was withdrawn and unhappy, and rejected most overtures of sympathy over my stuttering and shyness.” Maugham became a doctor and practiced in the London slums. He was particularly moved by the women he encountered in the hospital, where he delivered babies; and he was shocked by his fellow doctors’ callous approach to the poor. He wrote: “I saw how men died. I saw how they bore pain. I saw what hope looked like, fear and relief; I saw the dark lines that despair drew on a face; I saw courage and steadfastness. I saw faith shine in the eyes of those who trusted in what I could only think was an illusion and I saw the gallantry that made a man greet the prognosis of death with an ironic joke because he was too proud to let those about him see the terror of his soul.”

When he was 23, he published his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, about a working-class 18-year-old named Liza who has an affair with a 40-year-old married man named Jim, a father of nine. Jim’s wife beats up Liza, who is pregnant, and who miscarries, and dies. The novel was a big success, and Maugham made enough money to quit medicine and become a full-time writer. For many years, he made his living as a playwright, but eventually he became one of the most popular novelists in Britain. His novels include Of Human Bondage (1915), The Moon and Sixpence (1919), Cakes and Ale (1930), and The Razor’s Edge (1944).
Somerset Maugham said,

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.

At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely.

Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.

It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up.

Happy Birthday Cristóbal Balenciaga

Today is the 120th birthday of the Spanish fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.  The world is a better place because he is in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Cristóbal Balenciaga
OCCUPATION: Fashion Designer
BIRTH DATE: January 21, 1895
DEATH DATE: March 23, 1972
PLACE OF BIRTH: Getaria, Spain
PLACE OF DEATH: Valencia, Spain

BEST KNOWN FOR: Cristóbal Balenciaga was a Spanish-French fashion designer and the leading couturier of Spain in the 1920s-30s. He moved to Paris during the Spanish Civil War.

Balenciaga was born in Getaria, a fishing town in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa, on January 21, 1895.[1] His mother was a seamstress, and as a child Balenciaga often spent time with her as she worked. At the age of twelve, he began work as the apprentice of a tailor. When Balenciaga was a teenager, the Marchioness de Casa Torres, the foremost noblewoman in his town, became his customer and patron. She sent him to Madrid, where he was formally trained in tailoring.[1] (Balenciaga is notable as one of the few couturiers in fashion history who could use their own hands to design, cut, and sew the models which symbolized the height of his artistry.)

Balenciaga was successful during his early career as a designer in Spain. He opened a boutique in San Sebastián, Spain, in 1919, which expanded to include branches in Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish royal family and the aristocracy wore his designs, but when the Spanish Civil War forced him to close his stores, Balenciaga moved to Paris. Balenciaga opened his Paris couture house on Avenue George V in August 1937.

However, it was not until the post-war years that the full scale of the inventiveness of this highly original designer became evident. In 1951, he totally transformed the silhouette, broadening the shoulders and removing the waist. In 1955, he designed the tunic dress, which later developed into the chemise dress of 1957. And eventually, in 1959, his work culminated in the Empire line, with high-waisted dresses and coats cut like kimonos.

In 1960 he made the wedding dress for Fabiola de Mora y Aragón when she married king Baudouin I of Belgium. The Queen later donated her wedding dress to the Cristóbal Balenciaga Foundation.

His often spare, sculptural creations were considered masterworks of haute couture in the 1950s and 1960s.

Balenciaga closed his house in 1968 at the age of 74 after working in Paris for 30 years. He decided to retire and closed his fashion houses in Paris, Barcelona and Madrid, one after the other. Balenciaga died March 23, 1972 in Xàbia, Spain.

He taught fashion design classes, inspiring other designers such as Oscar de la Renta, André Courrèges, Emanuel Ungaro, Mila Schön and Hubert de Givenchy. Today the Balenciaga fashion house continues under the direction of Alexander Wang and under the ownership of the Gucci Group.[5]

On 24 March 2011 at San Francisco’s M.H. de Young Museum they celebrated the opening of “Balenciaga and Spain,” a 120-piece fashion retrospective of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s career. “You can’t even measure it,” said Rodarte designer Laura Mulleavy of Balenciaga’s influence. The $2,500-a-ticket fund-raiser for the museum drew 350 guests, including Marissa Mayer, Jamie Tisch, Gwyneth Paltrow, Orlando Bloom, Balthazar Getty, Maggie Rizer, Connie Nielsen, Maria Bello and Mia Wasikowska.

On 7 June 2011, the Balenciaga Museum was inaugurated in his hometown of Getaria by Queen Sofía of Spain and with the presence of Hubert de Givenchy, honorific president of the Balenciaga Foundation. The museum has a collection of more than 1,200 pieces designed by Balenciaga, part of them donations by disciples like Givenchy or clients, like Queen Fabiola of Belgium and the heirs of Grace Kelly.

Happy Birthday Berthe Morisot

Today is the 174th birthday of the artist Berthe Morisot. There are so very few female French Impressionist painters that she deserves note. You recognize her paintings, but probably didn’t know her story. The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

NAME: Berthe Morisot
OCCUPATION: Painter
BIRTH DATE: January 14, 1841
DEATH DATE: March 2, 1895
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bourges, France
PLACE OF DEATH: Paris, France

BEST KNOWN FOR: Berthe Morisot was a French Impressionist painter who portrayed a wide range of subjects—from landscapes and still lifes to domestic scenes and portraits.

Born January 14, 1841, in Bourges, France. Berthe Morisot’s father was a high-ranking government official and her grandfather was the influential Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. She and her sister Edma began painting as young girls. Despite the fact that as women they were not allowed to join official arts institutions, the sisters earned respect in art circles for their talent.

Berthe and Edma Morisot traveled to Paris to study and copy works by the Old Masters at the Louvre Museum in the late 1850s under Joseph Guichard. They also studied with landscape painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot to learn how to paint outdoor scenes. Berthe Morisot worked with Corot for several years and first exhibited her work in the prestigious state-run art show, the Salon, in 1864. She would earn a regular spot at show for the next decade.

In 1868, fellow artist Henri Fantin-Latour introduced Berthe Morisot to douard Manet. The two formed a lasting friendship and greatly influenced one another’s work. Berthe soon eschewed the paintings of her past with Corot, migrating instead toward Manet’s more unconventional and modern approach. She also befriended the Impressionists Edgar Degas and Frédéric Bazille and in 1874, refused to show her work at the Salon. She instead agreed to be in the first independent show of Impressionist paintings, which included works by Degas, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley. (Manet declined to be included in the show, determined to find success at the official Salon.) Among the paintings Morisot showed at the exhibition were The Cradle, The Harbor at Cherbourg, Hide and Seek, and Reading.

In 1874, Berthe Morisot married Manet’s younger brother, Eugne, also a painter. The marriage provided her with social and financial stability while she continued to pursue her painting career. Able to dedicate herself wholly to her craft, Morisot participated in the Impressionist exhibitions every year except 1877, when she was pregnant with her daughter.

Berthe Morisot portrayed a wide range of subjects—from landscapes and still lifes to domestic scenes and portraits. She also experimented with numerous media, including oils, watercolors, pastels, and drawings. Most notable among her works during this period is Woman at Her Toilette (c. 1879). Later works were more studied and less spontaneous, such as The Cherry Tree (1891-92) and Girl with a Greyhound (1893).

After her husband died in 1892, Berthe Morisot continued to paint, although she was never commercially successful during her lifetime. She did, however, outsell several of her fellow Impressionists, including Monet, Renoir, and Sisley. She had her first solo exhibition in 1892 and two years later the French government purchased her oil painting Young Woman in a Ball Gown. Berthe Morisot contracted pneumonia and died on March 2, 1895, at age 54.

Happy Birthday Madame de Pompadour

Today is the 293rd birthday of Madame de Pompador, arguably one of the first fashion icons and one of the most influential women of the 18th century.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

NAME: Madame de Pompadour
OCCUPATION: Singer, Theater Actress
BIRTH DATE: c. December 29, 1721
DEATH DATE: April 15, 1764
EDUCATION: Convent of the Ursuline Order, Club de l’Entresol
PLACE OF BIRTH: Paris, France
PLACE OF DEATH: Versailles, France
AKA: Madame de Pompadour, Jeanne-Antoinette Le Normant d’Etiolles, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson
FULL NAME: Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour

BEST KNOWN FOR: Madame de Pompadour became the mistress of French King Louis XV in the mid-1700s. She greatly influenced French culture during this time, including decorative arts, architecture and statecraft.

Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, better known as Madame de Pompadour, was born sometime at the end of December in 1721 (the date is often fixed at December 29 because she was baptized in the church of Saint-Eustache on December 30 of that year). Her mother, Madeleine de La Motte, was known as a beauty; her father, François Poisson, a financier, fled the country a few years after her birth to avoid being put to death for fraud. François Poisson later returned, but during his absence, tax collector Charles Le Normant de Tournehem, who paid for Jeanne-Antoinette’s education, was frequently assumed to be her real father.

Jeanne-Antoinette was well-educated, first in an Ursuline convent, then with excellent private tutors in voice and elocution from the Parisian opera and theatre (she memorized entire plays). She was later educated at the Club de l’Entresol, an exclusively male political and economic think-tank.

At age 19, Tournehem married Jeanne-Antoinette off to his nephew, furnishing them with an opulent estate at Etoiles. She bore him two children, a son who died in infancy, and a daughter nicknamed “Fanfan.” Jeanne-Antoinette’s beauty, intelligence and passion for the arts led her to instigate “salons” that attracted a varied circle of painters, sculptors, philosophers and writers, including Voltaire.

Jeanne-Antoinette entered the glittering life of the court at the Clipped Yew Tree Ball in 1745. She dressed as a shepherdess, and was determined to meet the magnetic King Louis XV, adorned as the tree. When their paths crossed, their fates were sealed—her carriage was reportedly seen outside of his apartment the next morning.

Louis XV was moody, sometimes languishing in the shadow of his great-grandfather, Louis XIV, the “Sun King.” He was fond of his Polish queen (with whom he would have 10 children); he had been through several mistresses by this time, but “Madame de Pompadour”—a title that Jeanne-Antoinette was soon given, along with an estate—became his chief mistress within a year. Her “office” came with castle apartments beneath the king’s own, as well as an annual income.

A talented seductress, actress and singer, Madame de Pompadour dazzled Louis XV with lively theater productions that she organized and performed in. She also adored the king, so even after their sexual liaison had run its course, she continued to be his loyal companion, and was accorded unprecedented political influence.

So devoted was the king to Madame de Pompadour, he became the stepfather of Fanfan, rushing doctors to her side when she fell ill. Sadly, the little girl died before turning 10; Fanfan’s grandfather, who adored the child, died shortly afterward. Madame de Pompadour is said to have never recovered from the dual loss.

Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour shared an appreciation for architecture and other decorative arts, and of animals, amassing a menagerie that included monkeys, birds and more domestic constant companions: her little dog and his white angora cat. Madame de Pompadour’s romantic ardor waned first, and her maid reported that she lived on a diet of “vanilla, truffles and celery” to stimulate passions for the king.

Madame de Pompadour eventually provided substitutes for herself in the boudoir while engaging Louis XV’s passions in other areas; she had her brother appointed director of buildings and, together, the trio planned and built chateaux, pavilions and palaces, including the Petit Trianon in Versailles. Each construction included extravagant detail and decoration by France’s premier artists, such as painter Francois Boucher. Madame de Pompadour also kick-started the Sèvres porcelain factory, and employed the Rococo style copiously in art and decor; a deep pink popular in this décor became known as “Pompadour Pink.”

Additionally, Madame de Pompadour became a patron to men of science and letters, encouraging the king to hire Voltaire as the court historiographer, and championing the first French encyclopedia. Her personal library held more than 3,500 volumes.

Eventually, Madame de Pompadour was involved in everything from designing the Place de la Concorde in Paris, to court affairs and foreign policy. Careers rose and fell with her favor and she maintained her lofty position, despite many enemies at court, until her death in 1764.

Madame de Pompadour’s weakened health, from several miscarriages and a painful struggle with tuberculosis, brought about her death on Easter Day in 1764 (April 15, 1764), at the Palace of Versailles. She was buried two days later, beside her daughter at the Chapel of the Capuchin Friars in Place Vendome.

Considered one of the three most powerful women of the 18th century, along with Catherine the Great of Russia (Catherine II) and Maria Theresa of Austria, Madame de Pompadour certainly went through fortunes in her zeal for unique and beautiful surroundings. Her enemies blamed her for France’s failure in the Seven Years’ War and its subsequent economic shoals.

However, respect for her vibrant wit, varied interests and keen intelligence has given Madame de Pompadour a better reputation over the years. A British regiment became known as “The Pompadours” for using a shade of purple that is said to have been her favorite. Also named after her are flowers, kitten heels, the hairstyle known as “the Pompadour” and the starship SS Madame de Pompadour—a vessel in the British Dr. Who series; Madame de Pompadour is even portrayed in one episode of Dr. Who, “Girl in the Fireplace.”

Happy Birthday Jean Seberg

I do love that a girl from Iowa can become so beloved by the French.  Her story reads like a Greek tragedy:  fame, three husbands, suicide at 40.  Breathless is available on NetFlix/Hulu, you should watch it.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.


Name:  Jean Dorothy Seberg
Born: November 13, 1938 Marshalltown, Iowa, U.S.
Died:  August 30, 1979 (aged 40) Paris, France

Jean Dorothy Seberg was an American actress. She starred in 37 films in Hollywood and in France, including Breathless (1960), the musical Paint Your Wagon (1969) and the disaster film Airport (1970).

One month before her 18th birthday, this blonde actress landed the title role in Otto Preminger‘s Saint Joan (1957) after a much-publicized contest involving some 18,000 hopefuls. The failure of that film and the only moderate success of her next, Bonjour tristesse (1958), combined to stall Seberg’s career, until her role in Jean-Luc Godard‘s landmark feature, Breathless (1960), brought her renewed international attention. Seberg gave a memorable performance as a schizophrenic in the title role of Robert Rossen‘s Lilith (1964), costarring Warren Beatty. Her two most famous films in America were back to back. The first was the western-musical Paint Your Wagon (1969). The second was Airport (1970), which became the trend setter for “disaster films” of the 1970s.

During this time Seberg became involved in anti-war politics and was the target of an undercover campaign by the FBI to discredit her because of her association with several members of the Black Panther party. Bad press and several personal problems nearly ruined her career, and she only acted in foreign films from then on.  She was found dead of a barbiturate overdose in a Paris suburb on August 30, 1979. She was 40 years old.

Seberg was survived by both of her parents, two younger siblings, three ex-husbands, and a 16-year old son named Diego. In 1970 she gave birth to a daughter named Nina, who was the product of an extramarital affair she had with a college student named Carlos Navarra; Nina died two days after her birth as a result of Jean overdosing on sleeping pills during her pregnancy.

Happy Birthday Diana Vreeland

Today is the 111th birthday of Diana Vreeland.  She was and continues to be the arbiter of style, even after her death 20+ years ago. Do yourself a favor and read “D.V.”:  her autobiography/manual of style/name-drop-a-thon book masquerading as a roller coaster ride through the early parts of the 20th century. It will seriously change your life. Watch “The Eye Has To Travel,” her documentary.  You will start to look at style as something you own, not something you follow and conform to.  She will teach you that the sexiest most attractive thing one can have and wear is confidence.   I absolutely adore her for the permission she gives people to be fashionable, be original, beautiful, without being ordinary or expected.  Wear some pearls today, wear your shirt back to front, do something original today.  Do it for yourself with a wink to Ms. Vreeland.

 

NAME: Diane Dalziel Vreeland
OCCUPATION: Journalist
BIRTH DATE: September 29, 1903
DEATH DATE: August 22, 1989
PLACE OF BIRTH: Paris, France

BEST KNOWN FOR: As a fashion journaist, Diana Vreeland was an influential figure in American fashion during the 20th century.

Diana Vreeland began her career at Harper’s Bazaar in 1936. Her column “Why Don’t You…?” was famous for offering outlandish fashion and lifestyle tips for the times. Vreeland later became the magazine’s fashion editor and established herself as one of the country’s leading arbiters of style. In 1962, Vreeland joined the staff of Vogue and continued to be a powerful force in the fashion world.

Fashion journalist. Born Diana Dalziel on March 1, 1924, in Paris, France. Diana Vreeland was an influential figure in American fashion during the twentieth century. The daughter of wealthy parents, she spent her early years in France before moving to New York as a teenager.

Diana Vreeland began her career as a columnist for Harper’s Bazaar in 1936. Her column “Why Don’t You . . . ?” was famous for offering outlandish fashion and lifestyle tips for the times. Few could afford in the Depression follow her advice. Moving up the editorial ladder, Vreeland became the magazine’s fashion editor, a post she held until the early 1960s. At Harper’s Bazaar, she established herself as one of the country’s leading arbiters of style.

In 1962, Diana Vreeland joined the staff of Vogue, another influential fashion magazine, as editor in chief. At Vogue, she continued to be a powerful force in the fashion world, often able to identify the coming trends, such as the popularity of the bikini. Vreeland also worked with many well-known photographers, such as Richard Avedon, in making the magazine.

While she left Vogue in 1971, Diana Vreeland did not leave the fashion world. She worked as a consultant for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, putting together fashion exhibitions. Vreeland died on August 22, 1989. Married to T. Reed Vreeland since 1924, she had two sons, Thomas R., Jr., and Frederick.

Personal Quotes:

“People who eat white bread have no dreams.”

“Blue jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola.”

“Elegance is innate. It has nothing to do with being well dressed. Elegance is refusal.”

“I always wear my sweater back-to-front; it is so much more flattering.”

“I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.”

“Pink is the navy blue of India.”

Happy Birthday Coco Chanel

Today is the 131st birthday of Coco Chanel.  I admire a person that creates their life how they wish it to be.  Determination, focus, drive, and perseverance.

NAME: Coco Chanel
BIRTH DATE: August 19, 1883
DEATH DATE: January 10, 1971
PLACE OF BIRTH: Saumur, France
PLACE OF DEATH: Paris, France

BEST KNOWN FOR: With her trademark suits and little black dresses, fashion designer Coco Chanel created timeless designs that are still popular today.

Famed fashion designer Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France. With her trademark suits and little black dresses, Coco Chanel created timeless designs that are still popular today. She herself became a much revered style icon known for her simple yet sophisticated outfits paired with great accessories, such as several strands of pearls. As Chanel once said,“luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”

Her early years, however, were anything but glamorous. After her mother’s death, Chanel was put in an orphanage by her father who worked as a peddler. She was raised by nuns who taught her how to sew—a skill that would lead to her life’s work. Her nickname came from another occupation entirely. During her brief career as a singer, Chanel performed in clubs in Vichy and Moulins where she was called “Coco.” Some say that the name comes from one of the songs she used to sing, and Chanel herself said that it was a “shortened version of cocotte, the French word for ‘kept woman,” according to an article in The Atlantic.

Around the age of 20, Chanel became involved with Etienne Balsan who offered to help her start a millinery business in Paris. She soon left him for one of his even wealthier friends, Arthur “Boy” Capel. Both men were instrumental in Chanel’s first fashion venture.

Opening her first shop on Paris’s Rue Cambon in 1910, Chanel started out selling hats. She later added stores in Deauville and Biarritz and began making clothes. Her first taste of clothing success came from a dress she fashioned out of an old jersey on a chilly day. In response to the many people who asked about where she got the dress, she offered to make one for them. “My fortune is built on that old jersey that I’d put on because it was cold in Deauville,” she once told author Paul Morand.

In the 1920s, Chanel took her thriving business to new heights. She launched her first perfume, Chanel No. 5, which was the first to feature a designer’s name. Perfume “is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion. . . . that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure,” Chanel once explained.

In 1925, she introduced the now legendary Chanel suit with collarless jacket and well-fitted skirt. Her designs were revolutionary for the time—borrowing elements of men’s wear and emphasizing comfort over the constraints of then-popular fashions. She helped women say good-bye to the days of corsets and other confining garments.

Another 1920s revolutionary design was Chanel’s little black dress. She took a color once associated with mourning and showed just how chic it could be for eveningwear. In addition to fashion, Chanel was a popular figure in the Paris literary and artistic worlds. She designed costumes for the Ballets Russes and for Jean Cocteau’s play Orphée, and counted Cocteau and artist Pablo Picasso among her friends. For a time, Chanel had a relationship with composer Igor Stravinsky.

Another important romance for Chanel began in the 1920s. She met the wealthy duke of Westminster aboard his yacht around 1923, and the two started a decades-long relationship. In response to his marriage proposal, she reportedly said “There have been several Duchesses of Westminster—but there is only one Chanel!”

The international economic depression of the 1930s had a negative impact on her company, but it was the outbreak of World War II that led Chanel to close her business. She fired her workers and shut down her shops. During the German occupation of France, Chanel got involved with a German military officer, Hans Gunther von Dincklage. She got special permission to stay in her apartment at the Hotel Ritz. After the war ended, Chanel was interrogated by her relationship with von Dincklage, but she was not charged as a collaborator. Some have wondered whether friend Winston Churchill worked behind the scenes on Chanel’s behalf.

While not officially charged, Chanel suffered in the court of public opinion. Some still viewed her relationship with a Nazi officer as a betrayal of her country. Chanel left Paris, spending some years in Switzerland in a sort of exile. She also lived at her country house in Roquebrune for a time.

At the age of 70, Chanel made a triumphant return to the fashion world. She first received scathing reviews from critics, but her feminine and easy-fitting designs soon won over shoppers around the world.

In 1969, Chanel’s fascinating life story became the basis for the Broadway musical Coco starring Katharine Hepburn as the legendary designer. Alan Jay Lerner wrote the book and lyrics for the show’s song while Andre Prévin composed the music. Cecil Beaton handled the set and costume design for the production. The show received seven Tony Award nominations, and Beaton won for Best Costume Design and René Auberjonois for Best Featured Actor.

Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971, at her apartment in the Hotel Ritz. She never married, having once said “I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” Hundreds crowded together at the Church of the Madeleine to bid farewell to the fashion icon. In tribute, many of the mourners wore Chanel suits.

A little more than a decade after her death, designer Karl Lagerfeld took the reins at her company to continue the Chanel legacy. Today her namesake company continues to thrive and is believed to generate hundreds of millions in sales each year.

In addition to the longevity of her designs, Chanel’s life story continues to captivate people’s attention. There have been several biographies of the fashion revolutionary, including Chanel and Her World (2005) written by her friend Edmonde Charles-Roux.

In the recent television biopic, Coco Chanel (2008), Shirley MacLaine starred as the famous designer around the time of her 1954 career resurrection. The actress told WWD that she had long been interested in playing Chanel. “What’s wonderful about her is she’s not a straightforward, easy woman to understand.”