Caroline Young: Living with Coco Chanel (book review)

photo of Caroline Youngs book Living with Coco Chanel and pearls

Caroline Young

… is a fashion journalist, blogger and book author living in Edinburgh, UK. She wrote Classic Hollywood Style, Style Tribes and Tartan + Tweed. Those of you who follow my blog already for a couple of years may remember my review of Style Tribes. I really love her deep research on and objective presentation of the subjects she covers in her books.

Thus, when in summer, she messaged me on twitter whether I would be interested in reviewing her newest book entitled Living with Coco Chanel, I messaged back “of course.” I couldn’t wait for it to be published.

True to her style

Caroline Young’s newest book, doesn’t disappoint. She stayed true to her style of writing. In her newest book, which has the subtitle The homes & landscapes that shaped the designer, she elucidicates how Mademoiselle’s childhood, life events, family, friends, traumas, her country’s societal and cultural standards, her education and ther world political events not only influenced, but formed Coco’s way of thinking, her work ethic and her lifestyle.

look inside the book about the fashion designer showing her as young woman
Look inside Caroline Young’s new fashion-history book showing a photo of the young Mademoiselle and the starting page of the first chapter

Just one example on the societal and cultural influences. The American dream is to get from rags to riches all by yourself. In America, nobody cares about your family background and their money (unless your are a politician). You are judged by who you are and who you became. And yes, you are damned proud of it when you made it from the rags to the riches.

On the contrary, in Europe, not what you do or what you achieved, but your family background, legisty and heritage as well as where you came from determine your societal status and recognition.  This Old World cultural standard may be a reason why the fashion-world changing designer never spoke about her childhood in the Auvergne.

Photos of the Auvergne where the French designer lived
Photos of the Auvergne Abbey, its cloisters and gardens where the designer lived from age 12 after the death of her mother to age 18

Some of you may know that I went to college at Université Blaise Pascale in Clermont-Ferrand, which is a big city in the Auvergne. This beautiful landscape in the heart of France is very rural for European standards. Volcanoes and rocks of lava fail to provide resources for a huge harvest bounty and flourishing economy.

great fashion and landscape photos
Example of pages with great fashion and landscape photos you can find in the book

Coco designed the life she wanted

By writing about Coco, Caroline Young illustrates that you can take control of your life when you dare to take advantage of opportunities that come up. Even though Caroline put Gabrielle in the center of the book and its story, this book goes far beyond providing you with information about Mademoiselle. It made me to think about what made me the person I became.

It’s also a book about women’s history and fate

Caroline effectively sketched the life of young women and their limited options at the turn of the 19th century. Caroline’s book about Coco’s life lives up to the coutiere’s statement

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. - Coco Chanel #fashionquote Click To Tweet

By means of writing about the path of this influential and ground-breaking fashion designer, Caroline showed how the Great War, the Great Depression and WWII had affected and changed the lives of women in general in the 20th centrury. She not only well demonstrated what the harms of perceptions and ageism can do to a woman, but also that a can-do attitude can bring a woman way farther than she ever dreamed.

Success is often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable. - Coco Chanel #womanentrepreneur Click To Tweet

Who would enjoy reading this book

Caroline Young’s book is a Must-read for every fashion lover. It is full of great fashion, landscape and interior design photos. Beyond fashionistas, I would recommend her book to all women interested in women history as well as to women who are looking for a book about empowerment.

I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like. - Coco Chanel #lifestyle Click To Tweet
Phot of page showing classic famous Chanel designs
Example of the photos featuring classic famous Chanel designs

Where to buy Living with Coco Chanel

You can find Caroline Young’s book Living with Coco Chanel – The homes & landscapes that shaped the designer online at Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion Publishing or on Amazon.

In a nutshell

Caroline Young wrote a very interesting, historically authentic book that features the life of the ground-breaking designer Gabrielle Chanel in the great picture of the social changes in the 20th century. At the same time, this book is not only about a famous fashion figure, but also a motivational book for women to stand up for themselves to live the life they want. Enjoy reading! This book is definitively worth your time! Order your copy now.

Photos: N. Mölders

Disclosure: The book is a sample from Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion Publishing. The post is not endorsed by them or by Caroline Young. I wrote the review entirely myself and it represents my own 100% honest opinion.

© 2013-2019 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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