• The Gospel According to Coco Chanel

  • Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman
  • By: Karen Karbo
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (457 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Delving into the long, extraordinary life of renowned French fashion designer Coco Chanel, Karen Karbo has written a new kind of book, exploring Chanel’s philosophy on a range of universal themes—from style to passion, from money and success to femininity and living life on your own terms.

Chanel is credited not simply with giving us the little black dress and boxy jackets, but with popularizing pants for women and easy, practical clothes that allowed women a chic freedom they’d never known before. In her strong-headed, elegant, opinionated, passionate, entirely French way, Coco Chanel helped bring women into the modern era, and because of this she was the only person in fashion to be named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century.

Karen Karbo weaves Chanel’s life story into chapter themes that subtly convey life lessons and leave the reader utterly entranced with Chanel’s amazing individuality, confidence, and determination. The story of the designer’s extraordinary life and rise to unprecedented success is both compelling and admirable. And while the great Coco may have launched her singular empire a hundred years ago, her methods, attitude, and élan are as relevant and modern as ever, and perhaps more appealing. Chanel was a self-made girl who knew how to make do with less until she had more, discover and stay true to her own style, problem solve using the tools at hand, and do it all with seemingly effortless flair. The Gospel According to Coco Chanel is a captivating, offbeat look at style, celebrity, and self-invention—all held together with Karbo’s droll Chanel-style commentary and culled from an examination of Chanel’s difficult childhood and triumphant adulthood, passionate love affairs, career choices, habits, eccentricities, and personal philosophies.

©2009 Karen Karbo (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Anyone with a good sense of humor should hugely enjoy, or should I say enjoie, Karen Karbo’s funny and stylish take on Coco Chanel. Like a little black dress, this handy life guide will take you from day into evening. K. K. on C. C.: oui, oui!” (Henry Alford, author of How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth))
“Wise, witty, and refreshingly colloquial, The Gospel According to Coco Chanel is an enchanting tour through the complex, often controversial life of fashion icon Chanel. Filled with relevant life lessons for the modern woman, this book is Karbo at her irrepressible best.” (Hilary Black, editor of The Secret Currency of Love: The Unabashed Truth about Women, Money, and Relationships)

What listeners say about The Gospel According to Coco Chanel

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    4 out of 5 stars

She's one of my faves

What made the experience of listening to The Gospel According to Coco Chanel the most enjoyable?

This is a funny and accurate account of Coco Chanel. You can relate to Karen Karbo as if she were your friend. If you like Chanel this is a must for you. You will learn more about her and get a kick out of the perspective.

5 people found this helpful

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Karbo is Such a Mom

If you could sum up The Gospel According to Coco Chanel in three words, what would they be?

Best Feminism Ever!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Coco of course, but Karbo is quite interesting herself.

Have you listened to any of Bernadette Dunne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I loved her performance. She really creates an atmosphere and brings a lot of energy to the story. She makes it alive like I believe Karen Karbo intended.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

The idea that some of the greatest people of our time have "created" themselves literally in their own minds and refused to let anyone correct them.

Any additional comments?

Great infusion of fashion history in a way that a none fashion buff can also relate to. In fact, I was able to give background info to my husband (who probably didn't care, but pretended very well) about a recent Chanel headline.

9 people found this helpful

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Did not enjoy

This was a horrible way to tell the great story of Coco Chanel. The author jumps around from different points in Chanel's life, making it hard to follow. She attempts to make modern day comparisons and connections (frenemies? internet porn?!), but they just come across unneeded. She also follows her own hunt for a Chanel jacket that at almost all points through the book leaves me thinking "who cares?" I really didn't like this book - I wish I had spent time and money on a book that just focuses on Coco Chanel, without silly embellishments.

10 people found this helpful

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A Fashion Icon way ahead of her time...

Africa, Antarctica, Paris, Milan, Japan, and Korea...no matter where you go, the legendary Coco Chanel has been heard of. An extraordinary fashion icon and innovator, this trailblazing Diva changed not only the way we perceive women's fashions, but also the very nature of how fashion is conceptualized by the masses. Intuitively understanding the power fashion possesses upon the human psyche, she challenged preconceived assumptions and societal norms, and altered the global fashion landscape forever.

Karen Karbo does an amazing job chronicling the many fascinating aspects of Chanel's life. Narrator Bernadette Dunne does an equally incredible job bringing Chanel's story to life, leaving the listener eagerly awaiting to hear the next juicy tidbit of Chanel's meteoric rise to international fame and stardom.

Overall, I rated this wonderfully engaging title 5 stars, but if I could, I would have gladly rated it a 10 because it simply was that good 👍 to listen to....

I highly recommend it...👌

1 person found this helpful

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perfection!

I adore this., like a spring breeze in monet's garden. I feel like I knew her .

1 person found this helpful

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A fascinating woman

The author writes enough about herself that the headlines of Coco’s story becomes her story without the details. The author competes with the title character seeming to want to write about herself. At some point it reads like the National Enquirer headlines and scandal is the story.

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Entertaining and fun

I appreciated the honesty, even unflattering details about Coco were not glossed over. Plenty of humor sprinkled throughout.

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A nice listen or read

You can easily pick up again where you left off. I am not certain all the information is accurate

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As Chanel proved, attitude is everything

This was a cheekily written book read with humor and heart. Having read a cycle of 6 books about Chanel this week, I'm pleased to have landed here. This book didn't whitewash the fact that, during WWII, Chanel was a "collabor" - whether intentionally or by dint of necessity or by casual disregard for things outside her personal sphere - the result was the same and that fact puts liberal minded lovers of her early work on a bind. Fortunately. the tack Ms Karbo took was able to spilt the difference and leave us to love the artistry and the innovation that was Coco Chanel while still not giving her a pass as a sympathizer. This book also focuses on the fashion and the legacy of the entire Chanel line. Highly recommend.

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Not a great review of Coco Chanel

Was more about the author and her ability ( or not ) to provide barbed comments and silly perspectives often not about the supposed subject. Author is WAY to self absorbed. Looking for a better book about Coco!

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  • Loca
  • 12-08-21

Must for Chanel Fans !

Loved the narration felt like I was chatting with a friend over a coffee having a good gossip about fashion and all things Chanel !

Great insight into Coco Chanel and her life and what the brand stood for but also a great inspiring read (listen ) about women, empowerment, celebrating feminism & just being sassy and classy ;)

2 people found this helpful

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  • NH Stevens
  • 06-11-22

Coco Chanel - one more take on her incredible story

Coco Chanel was a one-off as an independent French woman, a woman who knew exactly what she wanted and why, a woman who is eternal in the world of couture, style, elegance and uniqueness.

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  • Linda T
  • 12-05-21

Good

Good little book you can get through in one day. Enjoyable and would recommend . Coco

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  • Nadine Brower
  • 11-29-21

The gospel by Coco Chanel

Loved this audible book a real insight into how this incredible lady worked and into her mind will listen to again and again!
I heard the whole book over two days very well put together. Highly recommending
Thanks regards Nadine. X

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-08-21

Informative and funny.

This Book covers the life of Coco from her childhood through to her death and tracks her use of those iconic designs through happy and turbulent times including her faux pas during the occupation of France, particularly Paris, during World War II.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-02-22

A reminder... an amazing woman, strength, creativity, beauty, courage to live without apology

Beautifully narrated.

Enjoyable insights on the life & times that shaped Coco Chanel’s drive. For which the world is fortunate. And continues to be in the 21st century.

Be true to yourself. If you don’t like your origins, alter them (in her case many times), don’t be a soapbox, publicly complaining of every single detail (opposite of 21st century social media platforms), it’s attention seeking & vulgar, opposite of elegance.

Chanel - timeless, elusive. Yet complicated. Who created simply what felt right. A legacy.

Equally delightful as the author unveils history, her own quest to justify a need to own a pricey Chanel jacket!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-21-21

Great book & narration!

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. It is written from a modern woman’s perspective and comes with a few tongue in cheek, humorous moments based on the authors experiences of seeking out to buy Chanel. The narration was superb & I will note down the narrators name so that I can always listen to books read by her.