Haye’s choice of a broad historical approach is both a matter of taste and, in the case of Chanel, a matter of necessity. As the introductory pages tell us, Chanel intentionally kept her private life concealed from the public and destroyed any written evidence she had of her personal affairs. She did not indulge in showy acts of self-promotion in order to boost her sales; her austere mystique acted as her only advertisement. However, for these reasons an accurate description of Chanel’s life is often hard to come by and, as Haye’s points out, many of the direct quotes we have from Chanel were remembered by her friends and often recorded years after her death.
The book itself is laid out in columns with photographs and illustrations on each page, making the publication very accessible and a pleasurable read. The images that run alongside the text relate to the subject that is being discussed, thus providing an interesting visual commentary.