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Justine Picardie has spent the last decade puzzling over the truth about Coco Chanel, attempting to peel away the accretions of romance and lies. In this critically acclaimed, bestselling biography she shares the history of the incredible woman who created the way we look now.
Coco Chanel was an extraordinary inventor - she conjured up the little black dress, bobbed hair, trousers for women, contemporary chic, best-selling perfumes, and the most successful fashion brand of all time - but she also invented herself, fashioning the myth of her own life with the same dexterity as her couture.
While Chanel was supreme innovator and vendor of all things elegant and beautiful, what lies beneath her own glossy myth is far darker. Throwing new light on her passionate and turbulent relationships, this beautifully constructed portrait gives a fresh and penetrating look at how Coco Chanel made herself into her own most powerful creation.
Justine Picardie brings the mysterious Gabrielle Chanel out of hiding, to celebrate her great achievements. She examines Chanel's enduring afterlife, as well as her remarkable life, uncovering the consequences of what she covered up, unpicking the seams between truth and legend, yet keeping intact the real fabric of her past.
Miss Dior is a story of freedom and fascism, beauty and betrayal, roses and repression, and how the polished surface of fashion conceals hidden depths.
This is the story of a ghost who walked into my life on a sunlit morning and would not let go of me. She is a woman of courage, a devoted sister, a constant gardener, and a resistance heroine who lived life on her own terms. Her name is Catherine Dior.
Miss Dior paints a portrait of the enigmatic woman behind the designer Christian Dior: his beloved younger sister Catherine, who inspired his most famous perfume and shaped his vision of femininity. Justine Picardie's journey takes her to Occupied Paris, where Christian honed his couture skills while Catherine dedicated herself to the French Resistance, until she was captured by the Gestapo and deported to the German concentration camp of Ravensbrück.
With unparalleled access to the Dior family homes and archives, Picardie's research into Catherine's courageous life shines a new light on Christian Dior's legendary work, and reveals how his enchanting 'New Look' emerged out of the shadows of his sister's suffering.
Tracing the wartime paths of the Dior siblings leads Picardie deep into other hidden histories, and different forms of resistance and sisterhood. She explores what it means to believe in beauty and hope, despite our knowledge of darkness and despair, and discovers the timeless solace of the natural world in the aftermath of devastation and destruction. The result is an exquisite and unforgettably moving book.
"When I think about her now, which is most of the time, it's like rewinding a silent film in my head: I see the crucial scenes in our lives together. But what I can't hear is her voice in my head, and that silence is driving me crazy."
After her sister Ruth's death from breast cancer in September 1997, Justine Picardie was desperate to speak to her again, to hear her voice, to find something - anything - that might fill the space she had left behind. Over the course of the next year, Justine's search for Ruth lead her into the underworld of spiritualism, through a series of encounters with mediums and psychics who believe that we can communicate with those we have lost.
If the Spirit Moves You is Justine's remarkable story about her search for the afterlife in an age of reason, scepticism and science. Powerfully moving, both heart-breaking and funny, it is an extraordinary book about the exhausting journey of grief and the enduring power of love.