BY JUSTINE PICARDIE
Extract from ‘Coco Chanel: the Legend and the Life’ (published by Harper Collins).
"His name was Arthur Capel, but his friends called him Boy, in an Edwardian era when English gentleman were still able to celebrate their continuing freedoms long after had turned from boys to men. Boy's origins were swathed in romance, and he came to Paris amidst murmured speculation that he was connected in some mysterious way to the British aristocracy.
"In Pau I met an Englishman", Gabrielle Chanel said to Morand. "We made each other's acquaintance when we were out horse-trekking one day; we all lived on horseback." They drank wine together; it was young, intoxicating and quite unsual", and so was the Englishman. "The young man was handsome, very tanned and attractive. More than handsome, he was magnificent. I admired his nonchalance, and his green eyes. He rode bold and very powerful horses. I fell in love with him. I had never loved MB. "Yet at first, she and Capel did not speak. "Not a word was exchanged between this Englishman and me.
One day I heard he was leaving Pau. "She asked him to tell her the time he was travelling to Paris; no other conversation was necessary. "The following day, I was at the station. I climbed onto the train.""
Justine Picardie is the author of five books, including her critically acclaimed memoir, If The Spirit Moves You, and her most recent novel Daphne. The former features director of Vogue, and editor of Observer magazine, she currently writes for several other newspapers and magazines, including theTimes, Sunday Telegraph and Harper’s Bazaar.