Sleek. Chic. Notoriously guarded. Welcome to the secret world of Gabrielle Chanel.The story of Chanel begins with an abandoned child, as lost as a girl in a dark fairy tale. Unveiling remarkable new details about Gabrielle Chanel's early years in a convent orphanage and her flight into unconventional adulthood, Justine Picardie explores what lies beneath the glossy surface of a mythic fashion icon.Throwing new light on her passionate and turbulent relationships, this beautifully constructed portrait gives a fresh and penetrating look at how Coco Chanel made herself into her own most powerful creation. An authoritative account, based on personal observations and interviews with Chanel's last surviving friends, employees and relatives, it also unravels her coded language and symbols, and traces the influence of her formative years on her legendary style.Feared and revered by the rest of the fashion industry, Coco Chanel died in 1971 at the age of eighty-seven, but her legacy lives on. Drawing on unprecedented research, Justine Picardie brings her fascinating, enigmatic subject out of hiding and uncovers the consequences of what Chanel covered up, unpicking the seams between truth and myth in a story that reveals the true heart of fashion.