Excerpt from Paris Adieu:
In Paris, people-watching was an art form. Jean-Michel was a discreet observer of public conduct and style, unlike my friend Elizabeth, who was unabashedly snide in her commentary on the failings of other human beings, with her snarky British wit. I enjoyed time with Elizabeth until invariably I felt as if I were participating in some sort of vivisection of poor, hapless strangers who really weren’t all that inferior to us. But with Jean-Michel, I learned a great deal from his restrained commentary on the people around us. He wasn’t so much judgmental as he was instructional. Now, he motioned to a woman with henna’d hair standing next to a man in line.
“Look at the woman there,” he said in a low voice. “You see her scarf?”
I glanced in her direction, pretending to survey the crowd as I caught sight of the long black, white, and gray scarf loosely slung around her neck.
“Yes. What about it?”
“That’s how to wear a scarf.” He sniffed.
“I mean everything like that. The black and white is chic but would be too severe without the gray. The design is not too busy. And the way she wears it shows she knows how good she looks in it. The scarf has made her jacket come alive.”
I’d never had a conversation like this with an American man.
“It is chic, isn’t it?” I agreed.
“Right. That’s what I meant,” I corrected myself, chasing away a tiny cloud of irritation. His fussiness annoyed me but he had a point. Who cared about a piece of clothing? It was the person who wore it who gave it whatever value it possessed. I wondered how I’d do in a black, white, and gray scarf. Immediately, I vowed to look for a similar one then practice draping it in the mirror.
The point in life…is to find equilibrium in what is inherently unstable.~Pierre Reverdy from Coco Chanel by Lisa Chaney
Reverdy was a dear friend of Gabrielle Coco Chanel. Handsome, independent, a trifle brutish, he appealed to the peasant woman buried deep inside the exquisite Chanel.
Find out more about bad boys in my latest book Black is Not a Color, sequel to Paris Adieu. Out in audiobook, it’s the story of Ava Fodor’s struggle to care for her father while cultivating her relationship with her new French boyfriend Pierre. Not a bad boy. Too good for Ava, in her mind, in fact.
Ava is not the only grown up child of a parent who didn’t raise her. There are many men and women with such a tale out there. Coco Chanel was one. If Ava’s idol Chanel could get beyond a rough start in life, so can Ava. So can you.
Listen to Ava’s story in Black is Not a Color and take inspiration. Move out of the shadows of a less than ideal childhood and take your place in the sun. Coco Chanel is your lodestar. And Ava’s story in Black is Not a Color will help you find the hero within yourself.