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
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz