© Robert Doisneau/Rapho


© Robert Doisneau/Rapho

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Member of the Resistance, journalist and author, Edmonde Charles-Roux, who was born in 1920 and died a few days ago, was one of the pioneers of French women's magazines in the postwar period.

After participating in the creation of "Elle" magazine in 1946, this woman of character, commitment and talent climbed the publishing ladder of French "Vogue" before becoming the Chief Editor in 1954.
​​Her first published novel, "To forget Palermo" in 1966, was a resounding success, since the novel won the Prix Goncourt. This was the beginning of a brilliant literary career that led her to enter the Académie Goncourt in 1983 before chairing it from 2002 to 2014.

It is of course no coincidence that the novelist, in love with fashion, devoted two books to Gabrielle Chanel. Upon meeting in 1954, the two women immediately felt that they shared an independent spirit and strength of character that drove them to build the lives they chose for themselves. It is as if Edmonde had found in the fashion designer the self-confidence that she still lacked, the figure she had just outlined. The young reporter decided to adopt a Chanel suit and pearl necklace, an outfit she wore for years. "You have a style, that of the peasant women of Arles, do not move from that, do not cut your hair" Gabrielle still advised her.

In "Chanel and her world", a work of reference, she pays tribute to Coco’s creative genius, but in "L’Irrégulière" (The Misfit), she retraces the designer’s unique destiny: that of a woman in charge of a huge company that was a lightning rod for an entire period. And yet throughout her life, the designer had been a “misfit” by bourgeois conventions. Which in a sense Edmonde was a bit herself.


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