Coco Chanel and Tiger Woods = Same Lesson

Coco Chanel & Igor StravinskyCoco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

I am a proud writer for the Silicon Valley Moms Group, and every month, we have virtual book club meetings. A handful of mom-bloggers read the same book, and we each post our thoughts on our personal blogs. It’s a great way to be part of a book club, especially when I really don’t have time to attend meetings and really love books. All that said, this month’s book club selection had me stumped.

This month, members of the virtual book club read Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky by Chris Greenhalgh, a novel based on the life of an historic designer and revolutionary composer. I love a good biography, even if it’s in the form of a novel, and I love a strong, independent woman. But I had no idea what was in store for me.

It’s important to note: I am not a fashion plate (um, far from it), and I don’t own a thread of Coco Chanel. But I love to read about women who change history. (My two favorites are Personal History by Katharine Graham and Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton.) So, I was so excited to read about a woman who changed the face of the fashion industry — in Paris, nonetheless — in the early 1900s. And while I learned a lot about the brilliance and vision for this woman, I was greatly disappointed by her personal character.

What I love about Coco Chanel

  • Her goal was to make woman’s clothing more comfortable, more wearable. She dumped stiff corsets and made clothes out of comfortable fabrics.  She even showed her ankles!
  • She was self-made. This woman came from literally nothing, the poorest of the poor in rural France. She earned her fortune by exercising on her vision and working hard.
  • She was a brilliant marketer. I read about how she crafted, and then sold, her now famous Chanel No. 5 perfume, and it was brilliant. I would even say she was the first viral marketer.
  • Her real name is Gabrielle Chanel, which is just beautiful

What shocked me about Coco Chanel

  • Where she was blessed with vision, intelligence and work-ethic, Coco Chanel lacked personal ethics. If the words of the book are true, she was a manipulative woman who had little concern about sleeping with married men. Well, as a woman who has a husband, reading this made me sick. The book tells the story of Coco’s obsession with composer Igor Stravinsky, and how she manipulated Igor and his family to move into her house as his wife was gravely ill. As Igor’s wife was bed-ridden and thought she was dying, Coco took Igor as her long-time lover. Now, don’t get me wrong, Igor was equally at fault here… but my point is while I was blindly impressed by Coco’s business sense, I was equally disappointed by her morals.

What I learned about myself

  • You know what, this book reminded me that no matter how much I admire someone or how revolutionary I think they are… my respect needs to stem from someone’s character rather than their accomplishments. Case in point: I am was a giant fan of Tiger Woods. That man made me want to watch golf on TV, which really is one of the most boring things ever. I liked his drive, his work-ethic, his intelligence (Stanford!), and his love for his parents. But you know the story, he cheated on his wife. And now I don’t care about Tiger Woods.
  • So, is Coco Chanel my Tiger Woods? Someone I held is high esteem until I read further? Yeah, I think so. It’s also a great reminder that we can admire someone, but we do not actually know these celebrities. They are not our friends, and they should not be our influencers. They are human, faults and all.

At the end of the day, this book was a good reminder that I need to judge and respect people based on their personal character… not their personal accomplishments.

– LTV Mom

Notes:

This book was provided by the publisher, but the words are mine and unedited.

Photo Credit: Amazon


13 Responses to “Coco Chanel and Tiger Woods = Same Lesson”


  1. 1 Robin

    So, you’re saying Tiger should wear more Chanel? :) Great post Stacy. Though I may not agree with her choices, I’m definitely intrigued by the story and cannot wait to read the book!

  2. 2 melanie

    thank you so much for your post. i was wondering if anyone else would take this angle (as i did). i felt very disappointed in the morals and ethics of both the main characters. i really hope the movie doesn’t portray their choice as a good or “logical” one…

  3. 3 bonggamom

    Stacy, I agree. I didn’t really enjoy the romantic aspect of it because of the deceit involved.

  4. 4 Vicki

    Great review. As soon as you mentioned loving to read biographies about women who change history, I knew I had to recommend the last book I read - Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It was a compelling, inspiring and powerful memoir about a woman who grew up in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Ethiopia, escaped to the Netherlands for asylum and become a member of Parliament. A great read!

  5. 5 Micki Wisell

    I am happy that Tiger Woods is back playing. It makes the sport interesting all over again.

  6. 6 may tinh xach tay

    I agree. I didn’t really enjoy the romantic aspect of it because of the deceit involved.

  7. 7 Alexandra Cooper

    Tiger Woods is a very good golfer but his reputation as a cheating husband made him a bad character.,~;

  8. 8 Linux Tutorials

    So, you’re saying Tiger should wear more Chanel? :) Great post Stacy. Though I may not agree with her choices, I’m definitely intrigued by the story and cannot wait to read the book!

  9. 9 du lich phan thiet

    So, you’re saying Tiger should wear more Chanel

  10. 10 du lich mien trung

    I didn’t really enjoy the romantic aspect of it because of the deceit involved.

  11. 11 Tour du l?ch nha trang

    You know what, this book reminded me that no matter how much I admire someone or how revolutionary I think they are… my respect needs to stem from someone’s character rather than their accomplishments. Case in point: I am was a giant fan of Tiger Woods. That man made me want to watch golf on TV, which really is one of the most boring things ever. I liked his drive, his work-ethic, his intelligence (Stanford!), and his love for his parents. But you know the story, he cheated on his wife. And now I don’t care about Tiger Woods.

  12. 12 laptop apple

    I like the saying : ” She earned her fortune by exercising on her vision and working hard “

  13. 13 máy tính xách tay acer

    Stacy, I agree. It was a compelling, inspiring and powerful. and i like it

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