Dauntless, “in the bone” style made Loulou de La Falaise one of the great fashion firebrands of the twentieth century. Descending in a direct line from Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, she was celebrated at her death in 2011, aged just sixty-four, as the “highest of haute bohemia,” a feckless adventuress in the art of living—and the one person Yves Saint Laurent could not live without.
Yves was the most influential designer of his times; possibly also the most neurasthenic. In an exquisitely intimate, sometimes painful personal and professional relationship, Loulou was his creative right hand, muse, alter ego and the virtuoso behind all the flamboyant accessories that were a crucial component of the YSL “look.” For thirty years, until his retirement in 2002, Yves relied on Loulou to inspire him, make him laugh and talk him off the ledge—the enchanted formula that brought him from one historic collection to the next.
Yves’s many tributes shape Loulou’s memory, as if everything there was to know about this fugitive, Giacometti-like figure could be told by her clanking bronze cuffs, towering fur toques, the turquoise boulders on her fingers and her working friendship with the man who put women in pants. But another, darker story lifts the veil on Loulou, a classic “number two” with a contempt for convention, and exposes the underbelly of fashion at its highest level. Behind Yves’s encomiums are a pair of aristocrat parents—Loulou’s shiftless French father and menacingly chic English mother—who abandoned her to a childhood of foster care and sexual abuse; Loulou’s recurring desperation to leave Yves and go out on her own; and the grandiose myths surrounding her family. Loulou felt that her life had been kidnapped by the operatic workings of the House of Saint Laurent, and in her last years faced financial ruin. Loulou & Yves unspools an elusive fashion idol—nymphomaniacal, heedless and up to her bracelets in coke and Boizel champagne—at the core of what used to be called “le beau monde.”
As we know her today, Coco Chanel is the French goddess who has bestowed us with perfumes, designs and the legendary Chanel Suit. Her public statements are often quote by those in the fashion industry who place emphasis on elegance, and those in the business world who strive to succeed. Her designs continue to sell today, and she now has a well-established line of beauty and perfume products. Ever the intellectual, her modernist thoughts have gained her worldwide recognition, even after her death in 1971.
Although Coco is best known to us for re-inventing style, her life has not been without its controversies. Far from being a mere woman of elegance, Chanel has a hidden past. By digging beneath the surface, it is clear to see she was just as well known for her drug addiction, affairs with members of the British elite and allegiance with anti-Semitic Nazis. On several occasions she evaded facing international war trials, thanks to her connections in high places.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Coco Chanel's Background
- Coco Chanel's Major Accomplishments and Awards
- Coco Chanel's Personal Life
- Coco Chanel Recently in the Media
- Public Statements Made by Coco Chanel
- Facts About Coco Chanel
- Sources and Additional Reading
In IT'S ALL ABOUT THE DRESS, you'll get a glimpse of what it's like to be Hollywood royalty (think yachts, tiny dogs, giant pearls and peanut butter sandwiches washed down with Chateau Margaux), discover the seduction secrets of the greats (from Kim Novak to Goldie Hawn to Warren Beatty), take in a little husband-hunting advice, and even learn legendary model Dorian Leigh's recipe for gigot d'agneau sept heures.
Vicky Tiel will teach you to dress like a sex symbol, cook like the owner of a French country inn, and seize what you want from the world like an American ingénue.
Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenney now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. Retailers are producing clothes at enormous volumes in order to drive prices down and profits up, and they’ve turned clothing into a disposable good. After all, we have little reason to keep wearing and repairing the clothes we already own when styles change so fast and it’s cheaper to just buy more.
But what are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more important, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?
In Overdressed, Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut, tracing the rise of budget clothing chains, the death of middle-market and independent retailers, and the roots of our obsession with deals and steals. She travels to cheap-chic factories in China, follows the fashion industry as it chases even lower costs into Bangladesh, and looks at the impact (both here and abroad) of America’s drastic increase in imports. She even explores how cheap fashion harms the charity thrift shops and textile recyclers where our masses of clothing castoffs end up.
Sewing, once a life skill for American women and a pathway from poverty to the middle class for workers, is now a dead-end sweatshop job. The pressures of cheap have forced retailers to drastically reduce detail and craftsmanship, making the clothes we wear more and more uniform, basic, and low quality. Creative independent designers struggle to produce good and sustainable clothes at affordable prices.
Cline shows how consumers can break the buy-and-toss cycle by supporting innovative and stylish sustainable designers and retailers, refashioning clothes throughout their lifetimes, and mending and even making clothes themselves.
Overdressed will inspire you to vote with your dollars and find a path back to being well dressed and feeling good about what you wear.