The show took place in Grand Palais, the iconic monument in the heart of Paris, that was transformed beyond recognition into a snug but elegant cavernous library, furnished with cozy reading nooks, decorative Persian rugs, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
Dazed also notes that the Chanel library collection itself emanated bookish vibes – with buttoned-up lace collars, full tweed skirts, nipped-in trouser suits, and specs, it fit perfectly in the picturesque bookscape.
The library collection was a debut of Virginie Viard as head designer of Chanel – Karl Lagerfeld’s right-hand woman for over 30 years and now, his successor.
It’s common knowledge that Karl was a voracious reader, estimated to have owned up to 350,000 books in his personal library and famous for the floor-to-ceiling monumental bookshelves. Similarly, Coco was known to be an avid fan of Flaubert, Stendhal, and Montaigne, whose works stacked the shelves of her 31 Rue Cambon apartment.
With art nouveau lamps reminiscent of Gabrielle’s youth, shelves filled with her favorite authors and the style so similar to this of late Lagerfeld’s home, the Chanel library collection pays a beautifully thoughtful tribute to both Coco and Karl in the most personal way possible.
The fashion verdict is clear: a good book is the only accessory you’ll need this autumn.
She is fascinated by how books influence culture and society. From time to time, she reads on a Kindle, but she is still not fully convinced to ebooks. When possible, she picks print editions and their addictive magic.
Find the hottest products that will make great gifts this season: new devices and appliances, home decor items, personal accessories, and books in different formats – all with a focus on Kindle and iPad users.
A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
by Sonia Purnell
France was falling. Burned-out cars, once strapped high with treasured possessions, were nosed crazily into ditches. Their beloved cargoes of dolls, clocks, and mirrors lay smashed around them and along mile upon mile of unfriendly road. Their owners, young and old, sprawled across the hot dust, were groaning or already silent. Yet the hordes just kept streaming past them, a never-ending line of hunger and exhaustion too fearful to stop for days on end.
Ten million women, children, and old men were on the move, all fleeing Hitler’s tanks pouring across the border from the east and the north. Entire cities had uprooted themselves in a futile bid to escape the Nazi blitzkrieg that threatened to engulf them. The fevered talk was of German soldiers stripped to the waist in jubilation at the ease of their conquest. The air was thick with smoke and the stench of the dead. The babies had no milk, and the aged fell where they stood. The horses drawing overladen old farm carts sagged and snarled in their sweat-drenched agony. The French heat wave of May 1940 was witness to this, the largest refugee exodus of all time.
Day after day a solitary moving vehicle weaved its way through the crowd with a striking young woman at the wheel. Private Virginia Hall often ran low on fuel and medicines but still pressed on in her French army ambulance toward the advancing enemy. She persevered even when the German Stukas came screaming down to drop 110-pound bombs onto the convoys all around her, torching the cars and cratering the roads. Even when fighter planes swept over the treetops to machine-gun the ditches where women and children were trying to take cover from the carnage. Even though French soldiers were deserting their units, abandoning their weapons, and running away, some in their tanks. Even when her left hip was shot with pain from continually pressing down on the clutch with her prosthetic foot.
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