Review: Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Rhonda K. Garelick

Garelick possesses a straightforward effective writing style, every word serves a detailed purpose, part of the draw to this extensive biography.

An extremely comprehensive overview of the enigmatic Coco Chanel. I have read several books pertaining to Chanel, all revealing more or less similar information. Nothing was a revelation in this book, although fascinatingly entertaining nonetheless. No matter how much I read of this intriguing creature I am always captivated by her many flaws and artistic gift. There will never be another Chanel, not even close, I find this both a blessing and a curse.

Throughout the book there were numerous quotes, some from Chanel, others from various people close or familiar to the icon. I’m on the fence with their placement, at times they were distracting, other times their placement was perfect. Perhaps a dedicated area or strategic placement would have served this reader better, their intended impact would not have been lost due to awkward insertion.

Garelick was thorough, not only in regards to Chanel but her intimates as well. I appreciated the fine details of others, in fact it provides a deeper understanding of Chanel but at times it was a bit heavy, especially since my focus was all about Chanel. I understand Garelick’s purpose in leaving no stone unturned, however, at moments less would have been best.

I enjoyed the images included, they were numerous, again it provided a more personal feel for Chanel along with the reading journey, plus it was exciting to see images of the past. I wish I was reading the paper copy as opposed to digital copy to relish the images in greater detail.

Garelick provides one of the better biographies I have perused, her details indicate her passion for capturing her subjects intimately, leaving no detail, rumor, or fact undocumented to her audience. Her nonsense writing style will keep your attention. Fans of fashion or of Chanel will savor this panoramic biography of an unforgettable fashion legend.


Kindle Edition, 608 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Random House (first published 2014)


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