Acclaimed writer Karen Karbo (How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great, 2007, etc.) investigates the enduring influence of the iconic designer Giorgio Armani once called “the most elegant woman who’s ever lived.” With its winning mix of fashion history, memoir and biography, The Gospel According to Coco Chanel will strike a chord among even the most unfashionable of readers.

Here, Karbo charts the legendary fashionista’s rise from the poorhouses of rural France to the apex of all fashion, and many will be surprised to discover that Chanel’s aphorisms and advice resonate just as deeply today as they did in the first half of the 20th century. We’ve culled a few of the designer’s most infamous razor-sharp insights from a book that celebrates many.

On dressing: “One shouldn’t spend all one’s time dressing. All one needs are two or three suits, as long as they and everything to go with them are perfect.”

On self-invention: “How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.”

On love and heartbreak: “Great loves too must be endured.”

On work: “Work has always been kind of a drug for me.”

On elegance: “Elegance is refusal.”

On femininity: “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.”

On mystery: “One shouldn’t speak of oneself, or almost never. People should guess you.”

On time: “There is time for work, and time for love. That leaves no other time.”

On aging: “I am not young but I feel young. The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there.”   

Pub info:

The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From the World’s Most Elegant Woman

Karen Karbo

Skirt! / March 1, 2011 / 9780762764150 / $12.95 paperback