“Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends.” It sounds like the self-justification of a Page 3 socialite who’s been flicking through the Upanishads while her nail varnish dries, but in fact the epigram belongs to that original queen of branding of the 20th century: Coco Chanel.

Having a tan, wearing slacks (with hands thrust defiantly in the pockets), and creating a perfume (Chanel No 5) that Marilyn Monroe made immortally chic, with her quip about wearing only Chanel No 5 in bed—these are just some of the things for which Gabrielle (she dubbed herself Coco, or ‘sweetie’) Chanel will be remembered. A new book, Edmonde Charles-Roux’s The World of Coco Chanel: friends, fashion, fame, brings together iconic images of the workingclass daughter of a country trader in workwear who turned the world of high fashion on its head.

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