Gabrielle Chanel and Literature: A history-generating relationship

Inspiration is an endless and timeless circle of references. In order to come up with ideas and create something on your own you need to be informed of what preceded you and what is out there. Countless generations of artists were first influenced by other artists before they were able to influence others and make history in the meantime. Gabrielle Chanel was not an exception to this rule. And so she read and read and read and then read a little more. And kept reading. Literature for her was a doorway to a world without limits, filled with dreams, knowledge and beauty.
French, Russian and English literature gave her the tools to explore every level of the human psyche. Paul Éluard, Baudelaire, Apollinaire as well as her dear friend Reverdy introduced her to the poetic areas of philosophy, surrealism and artistic provocation. Gabrielle’s constant association with books was a way to feed her spirit, enhance her love toward her friends and communicate on a high intellectual level with those who were meant to shape her as a creative person. It is no secret that she secretly funded the literary projects of the authors she admired, while abstaining from writing her autobiography, probably because deep down she knew that it was not her job to write about herself. Others would. And they did.
In the end, apart from building a fashion empire drawing on the wisdom of her literary icons, Gabrielle managed to become a literary figure herself. Just like a true visionary she overcame her human condition and transmuted into a legend.

December diary
Back to top