Life and Style
 

Stellar showings summarise the new spirit of modernity that’s revitalising the stuffy world of haute couture, says Alexander Fury

Coco before Chanel (12A), Anne Fontaine, 110 mins

Anne Fontaine's biopic of a woman who would become the grande dame of 20th-century couture looks very beautiful, and Audrey Tautou in the title role retains a cool mystique.

The real Coco Chanel

A biopic of 'Mademoiselle' Chanel is set to be one of the movie hits of the summer. John Lichfield reports on an icon who prospered in Nazi-occupied France

Audrey Tautou - Style with substance

Audrey Tautou plays Coco Chanel in a movie about the designer's beginnings. She tells Chris Sullivan of her fascination with the icon

Eternal darkness: Why the fashion world can't live without black

This summer, the new black is... well, we can guess the rest, can't we?

Karl Lagerfield: Designs for ballet

The stars of the English National Ballet have a celebrated new costumier – Karl Lagerfeld. Charlotte Cripps joins them at the fitting

Scent of a woman: How does Chanel stay top dog in the perfume world?

There are "muses" and then there are "faces". The differences between the two are subtle but manifold. A muse is principally a cost-free affair, based on friendship more often than not. A face, on the other hand, is a high-earner, likely to secure many millions for any services required.

All fine and dandy on Chanel catwalk

A scuffle over Kate Moss wasn't going to stop Karl Lagerfeld showing his Regency-inspired collection

Lagerfeld glows with his rhapsody in white

Chanel recaptures its essence with designer's response to world recession

Tsar Karl: Lagerfeld's Russian dolls

Lagerfeld picked a Russian theme for his show last week, reflecting Chanel's historic connection with Moscow – where sales of his luxurious clothes are booming. Carola Long reports from Paris

Little black magic: Return of the little black dress

The LBD is always a winner in the fashion stakes, and Balenciaga's take on it, although inspired by Fifties film-noir heroines, couldn't be more now, says Susannah Frankel

Frocks and fantasy: The photographs of Sarah Moon

Whether for Cacharel, Biba or Vogue, the photographs of Sarah Moon have the power to bewitch. Susannah Frankel meets a fashion legend

Beale's Best in show: Tourism Australia

Baz Luhrmann probably considers himself an artist. He makes big commercial movies (Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge) but he also makes commercials (Nicole Kidman in an ad for Chanel No 5). And now he’s made an ad for Tourism Australia.

Carola Long: Beauty Queen

While flicking through an airline shopping catalogue on a recent flight, I noticed the blurb accompanying a set of pale pink nail varnishes. "For instantly well-manicured nails that speak volumes about you,"it said. In fact, a wash of natural polish is a deliberate ploy to reveal very little about the wearer; it's safe, classic and an avoidance of self expression. "The groomed girl's comfort blanket," says Harrods nail guru Leighton Denny.

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/independent/a_nice_green_leaf/" target="_blank">A Nice Green Leaf: Smells as good as Chanel No.5 (To flesh-eating beetles)</a>

Plants have got very different rules of attraction to human beings, for one simple reason: they can't move.

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital