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From culture to couture

Penelope Gilliatt

21 February 1985
The ‘Vogue’ Bedside Book 
edited by Josephine Ross.
Hutchinson, 256 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 09 158520 1
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The Art of Zandra Rhodes 
by Anne Knight and Zandra Rhodes.
Cape, 240 pp., £18, November 1984, 0 395 37940 7
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... characters have nothing in common. In order of hauteur, Frog is housed in an ambassadorial house in the Place du Palais Bourbon, and has long been edited by a handsome woman of diplomatic family, EdmondeCharles-Roux. When I was Brogue’s features editor, Frog still revolved around the couture collections; Frog being frog and grand, Condé Nast’s photographers had first and private access to the ...

Why are you so fat?

Bee Wilson: Coco Chanel

7 January 2010
Perfumes: The A-Z Guide 
by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.
Profile, 620 pp., £12.99, October 2009, 978 1 84668 127 1
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Chanel: Her Life, Her World, The Woman behind the Legend 
by Edmonde Charles-Roux, translated by Nancy Amphoux.
MacLehose, 428 pp., £14.99, June 2009, 978 1 906694 24 1
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The Allure of Chanel 
by Paul Morand, translated by Euan Cameron.
Pushkin, 181 pp., £12, September 2009, 978 1 901285 98 7
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Coco before Chanel 
directed by Anne Fontaine.
July 2009
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... rose, jasmine and aldehydes in the same way that a perfect body contains legs and arms. But I defy all who smell this to keep enough wits about them to worry about the parts. Before Coco Chanel, as EdmondeCharles-Roux writes in her 1975 biography, women (and men) who wore perfume were generally forced to choose between various floral concoctions – heliotrope, gardenia, violets – none of which ...
15 April 1982
The Language of Clothes 
by Alison Lurie.
Heinemann, 272 pp., £10, April 1982, 0 434 43906 1
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The Thirties Family Knitting Book 
edited by Jane Waller.
Duckworth, 95 pp., £5.95, September 1981, 0 7156 1601 3
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Chanel and Her World 
by Edmonde Charles-Roux.
Weidenfeld, 354 pp., £25, October 1981, 0 297 78024 7
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Dior in Vogue 
by Brigid Keenan.
Octopus, 192 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 7064 1634 1
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Creative Dressing 
by Kaori O’Connor.
Penguin, 192 pp., £4.95, September 1981, 1 4004 6247 9
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Doing it with style 
by Quentin Crisp.
Eyre Methuen, 157 pp., £5.95, October 1981, 0 413 47490 9
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... in particular, would have been recognised by Baudelaire as a woman he could understand: beautiful, ruthless, solitary, femme du monde, perfectionist. Her almost mythic status can be appreciated in EdmondeCharles-Roux’s description of her at the end of her life, an old woman of 80 who looked like a bitter girl and who dressed, always and marvellously, in the full panoply of suit, blouse, pearls ...

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