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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”.

Local: Morecambe, Lancashire

In the 1850s, the cabinet-maker and temperance worker Thomas Cook began organising "grand circular tours" of Europe that were arguably the first package holidays. The concept of fun in the sun – at an affordable price – caught on and by the 1970s we were abandoning British seaside resorts in favour of sunnier stretches of sand. In 2006, over 16 million people holidayed in Spain each year.

Racing: Chantilly victor Darsi cheers Visindar team

Christophe Soumillon, dismayed not to ride a Classic winner for the Aga Khan at Epsom 24 hours earlier, consoled himself by doing so at Chantilly yesterday when Darsi won the Prix du Jockey-Club. Since its abbreviation to 10 and a half furlongs, it seems specious to maintain that this race is still the French Derby. That description should perhaps be reserved for the Grand Prix de Paris instead, but Soumillon had no such quibbles as he decorated his 25th birthday by blowing a kiss to the stands passing the post.

Style Police: Simplicity is the key, says JAMES SHERWOOD. Colours have gone neutral and that means bad design has nowhere to hide

We've always known fashion is a contrary old broad. She was austere as a Carmelite nun last season. Now she's kicking up her heels like a Vegas lap dancer in applique sequins, hot floral prints and wild, anything- goes colour. In short, she's as intimidating as Blanche Dubois after one too many daiquiris. This is a tough season for women who like quiet clothes.

Fashion: The history of... Pyjamas - Lounge back in langour

When the days are so short and summer seems a long way off, what better way to stay cosy at night than to snuggle up in a pair of cotton pyjamas from Toast, or some slinky silk PJs from Bonsoir of London? The word pyjama stems from the Hindi word paejama, meaning "leg covering", and men first started wearing them around 1870, after the returning colonials brought them back from the East.

The Saturday Essay: Popularity is fine, but it's not what makes art great

Quality will out is what we elitists believe: how one winces when a programme says `not performed since 1782'

Everything in the garden's lovely, Coco

Karl Lagerfeld has turned his hand to garden design for a Chelsea Flower Show tribute to the Camellia, the white flower that has come to symbolise the House of Chanel.

Saris for the streetwise; people in fashion

Chris Maume meets Kurt Jones of Elvis Jesus and Co Couture, whose ethnically eclectic classics are dazzling, versatile and a not a million miles away from 'The Valley of the Dolls'

Week on radio

PUBLISHING a book on tape and on radio but not in print may look gimmicky. But in the case of Tom Wolfe's Ambush at Fort Bragg - now available on the BBC Radio Collection, as well as being the current Late Book on Radio 4 - it seems like a rather good idea. Since its message is all about the way that television distorts modern society, it makes sense to try and put the message across to an audience less likely to sit down and read. And anyway, Wolfe's prose is perfect radio material - so lucid, bland and effortless that you can carry on with useful jobs like checking your bank statements and tackling those stubborn stains on the crockery without losing the thread.

Canadian who clicked with the great and glamorous

They are a revealing glimpse of the famous and glamorous of a bygone era. An exhibition of work by the Canadian photographer Roloff Beny provides an insight into the lives of some of the personalities who dominated the cultural stage from the 1950s onwards, including Laurence Olivier, Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev and Coco Chanel.

Gas lights and red crabs under a yellow moon

A novel about the artists and intelligentsia of war-time France is ruined by too much chat, says Carol Birch; Matisse's War by Peter Everett Cape, pounds 15.99

Fashion: Forties look is thin on Coco

TAKE one picture of Coco Chanel on the eve of the Second World War, on the shoulders of her friend Serge Lifar, a dancer with the Diaghilev Ballet, and use it as the starting point of the Chanel spring/summer 1995 collection.

First Impressions: Edmonde Charles-Roux on Yves Saint Laurent

'He was an adolescent cut like a giraffe and constantly struggling with huge glasses that kept sliding down his nose. He had a false air of idleness about him. In fact, he was more reserved than timid.'

FASHION / Kaiser Karl's cul-de-sac: For ten years, Karl Lagerfeld has ruled international fashion. He made Chanel the status label for the Eighties, then took on every other spare label in sight. But now, the spirit of Coco Chanel is back in fashion, and Karl seems to have lost the plot

IN 1926, Jean Cocteau dashed off a simple sketch that summed up the state of fashion at a glance. In the foreground, a slender woman slouches comfortably in a simple jersey dress with only a squiggle of jewellery, while in the distance, a lumpen woman in a floor-length, fur-trimmed coat drags herself off the page and into history. 'Poiret s'eloigne - Chanel arrive,' Cocteau scribbled on the bottom of the drawing: Poiret - the favourite designer of the early Twenties - leaves and Chanel arrives.

Pattern of summer: knit two, pearl one: This year's softer shapes have brought back the twinset, as Granny never wore it. Roger Tredre looks at the 1993 reincarnation

WHEN FASHION is soft, the twinset returns to favour. This summer, the classic combination of sweater and cardigan is experiencing a new lease of life. The twinset is as integral a part of the season's wardrobe as floaty dresses and layers of linen.
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