- ‘X-Men’ director Bryan Singer accused of sexually abusing a boy
- Tennessee ammunition site explodes, killing 1
- U.N.: Iran cuts stock closest to nuke-arms grade
- Oklahoma gay-marriage case before U.S. appeals court
- Times wins two awards from Society for Professional Journalists
- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
BOOKS: ‘Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky’
When two stars of artistic genius such as Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky collide in early-20th century France, there’s bound to be drama and romance, although their affair was a sordid and adulterous one.
It’s the forbidden love between the feisty fashion designer and the soulful composer that makes this union so irresistible for a historical novel, and author Chris Greenhalgh has delivered it in “Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinksy,” published for the first time in the United States this week. It is the basis for the film version due out in January.
In the novel, Chanel is first exposed to Stravinsky in the spring of 1913 when she is in the audience for a performance of his “The Rite of Spring” at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris, causing the City of Light to erupt in riots due to the ballet’s power, unconventional style and provocative themes.
They do not meet on that night, but are at similar points in their early thirties and about to set the world alight in what will become legendary careers.
She has just achieved her first whiff of fame after designing hats for French aristocrats, lifting her from a childhood mired in abandonment and poverty.
As for Stravinsky, he has already composed “Petrushka” and “Firebird,” and won the praise and friendship of the likes of Debussy and Ravel, but by 1917 will be exiled from his home country of Russia thanks to the Revolution.
The two are not properly introduced until 1920 by their mutual friend Sergei Diaghilev, the well-known arts critic and patron.
“I see your name everywhere,” Stravinsky tells his new acquaintance.
“And I never stop hearing yours,” she purrs back.
At the time of their fated meeting, Chanel is a woman swimming in money and luxury, an independent spirit far ahead of her time.
While Stravinsky is equally talented, he is financially strapped with children and Catherine, his sick and feeble wife, clinging to him.
“Coco realizes his dandyism is an act. It masks a deep sense of insecurity and a profound sense of loss. Loss of state and selfhood. The man is clinging on, she thinks.”
Stravinsky is instantly smitten. “The clay was warm the day God made her,” he reports to Diaghilev.
Seeing something of herself in the young composer and sensing their animal attraction, Chanel, ever the cunning huntress, invites Stravinsky and his family to stay, rent free, in her lair, a new villa she has purchased as a holiday place in Garches, called Bel Respiro.
About the Author
Stephanie Green is an arts and culture reporter for The Washington Times and, with Elizabeth Glover, the co-author of Green and Glover, the paper’s personalities column. Before joining The Times, Stephanie was a reporter for the Alexandria Times and a contributing writer and editor of Capitol File magazine. Her work has also appeared in Washingtonian. Stephanie worked on C-SPAN’s 2006 ...
- Times announces newsroom layoffs
- Deaf theater staff member inspires customers, colleagues
- Disney's latest breaks barriers, to viewers' delight
- BOOKS: 'Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky'
- Sage Advice
Latest Blog Entries
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- FISHER: Shades of Berlin in the South China Sea
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.