Arts and Entertainment

Justine Picardie’s account of Coco Chanel’s eventful 87 years on this earth is written in a flowing, luxuriant style suitable to its subject. Here’s a selection of phrases from the first few pages: “perfumed and warm”, “a cocoon of luxury”, “jewel-coloured lipsticks”, “silk-lined tweed jackets”, “pearls and camellias”.

Geri Halliwell famously donned red, white and blue in the late nineties, perhaps taking it a little too far

Ready To Wear: I'm coming over all red, white and blue and – what's more – I like it

While the world at large has been moaning about the weather which, admittedly, has been remarkably inclement, not to mention the remarkable lack of security at the Olympics, something remarkably strange has been happening to my wardrobe. "You're wearing red, white and blue," says my friend and I realise that there's no arguing with her.

Ready To Wear: Contrary to all rhyme and reason, couture is alive and kicking

Fashion is fuelled by mythology and stories so lovely that one could be forgiven for thinking they are imaginary – or at least heavily embellished, just like the clothes that go with them. The haute couture, however, is the last bastion of such romance and, contrary to all rhyme and reason maybe, it remains very much alive.

Susannah Frankel: 'I'm not a 'To the Manor Born' kind of person'

Tweedy jackets, riding boots and jodhpurs are all fashionable, just as they always have been in the autumn. Few designers can resist the allure of the apparently functional and entirely classic good looks of the English aristocracy and that applies to everyone from Coco Chanel, who based much of her aesthetic on that fact, to Vivienne Westwood and, in particular this season, Phoebe Philo, whose Celine pre-collection is as British as fish and chips on the beach.

Never-ending stories: Is there anything left for biographers to reveal?

Gone are the days of respectful 'life-writings' and long gaps between comparative biographical studies. As yet another Coco Chanel exposé arrives, John Walsh asks, are there still any new facts for writers to uncover?

Coco Chanel, By Justine Picardie

As her styles have endured, so the career of Coco Chanel has become a catwalk where writers and film-makers galore can strut their stuff.

DVD: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (15)

It's difficult dealing with icons, especially when you're domesticating them. Coco & Igor charts the love affair between designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel and composer Igor Stravinsky during his spell at her holiday home outside Paris.

Diaghilev: A Life, By Sjeng Scheijen

It is too fitting that a larger-than-life character such as the Russian impresario Sergey Diaghilev should have been born with so large a head that it killed his mother when she gave birth to him. Too fitting, because it is not true: as Sjeng Scheijen reveals in this myth-busting biography, Diaghilev's mother died of puerperal fever three months after her son's birth. Had she lived, she might not have recognised the sensitive boy who grew up to found the Ballets Russes and hobnob with Picasso, Coco Chanel, Stravinsky and Prokofiev.

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, Jan Kounen, 118 mins (15)<br/>Undertow, Javier Fuentes-Leon, 100 mins (15)

I say, Coco, would you mind turning off the cold tap?

Coco Chanel &amp; Igor Stravinsky (15)

Jan Kounen's drama picks up more or less at the point when Coco Before Chanel (with Audrey Tautou) left off – with Coco mourning the death of her lover Boy Capel and hitting her stride as the most celebrated couturière in France.

Dress code: Angela Rippon, TV Presenter

What are you wearing right now?

My most comfortable jeans, a cashmere V-neck sweater and FitFlops.

Simon Carr: When logic is the enemy of reason

I don't agree with any of this but I haven't got any arguments against it

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

Wardrobe mistress: Coco Chanel on the big screen

Audrey Tautou plays Coco Chanel in a biopic released this month &ndash; but the painstakingly-researched costumes are the real stars of the film, discovers Rosamund Witcher

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.

Haute couture gowns saved for Britain by export ban &ndash; for now

A museum must find &pound;450,000 to keep 11 unusual French designer outfits in this country permanently
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before