Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883–1971) without a doubt is a gift to biographers. A legend in the world of couture and Parisian elegance, her trajectory took her from provincial obscurity and abject poverty to immense wealth and lasting global fame. She transformed women’s fashion in the 1910s and 1920s, replacing corsets, ornate frocks, and ostrich feathers with sportswear-inspired comfortable designs and the iconic “Little Black Dress.” Thanks to the success of her No. 5 perfume (created in 1921), and financial backing from the Wertheimer brothers, the Maison Chanel became a thriving fashion empire in the interwar period. Meanwhile Coco’s social circle encompassed wealthy playboys (Etienne Balsan, Arthur “Boy” Capel), avant-garde artists (Jean Cocteau, Igor Stravinsky), and British aristocracy (the Duke of Westminster, who was one of her lovers; Winston Churchill). In 1954, at a time she could have been expected to retire, she made a spectacular come back, aged 71, with her legendary tailored suits. Henceforth the emblem of elegant bourgeois femininity, they were worn by, among others, Jeanne Moreau in Les Amants (1959), Romy Schneider in Luchino Visconti’s episode for Boccaccio ’70 (1962) and Jackie Kennedy on 177the day of her husband’s assassination in November 1963. A slim, darkhaired, and dark-eyed beauty for much of her life, Chanel herself was always impeccably stylish in her understated chic creations.