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Friday, March 07, 2008

Substance, meet Style!

Just wanted to let everyone who read yesterday’s Project Runway Junior post on Pajamazon know that we went to the library (to find my clueless child a book about that legendary Black [as in Dress] History Heroine, Coco Chanel) and, low and behold, look what we found:

Yes, it is a picture book biography of Coco Chanel!

Who says the library doesn’t have everything?

As soon as our beloved librarian found it, I suddenly remembered hearing about this book last year. I had filed it away in my overburdened brain and forgotten all about it until I saw the cover. It is a fabulous book (a “fierce” book, dare I say it) and an exemplary biography insofar as it captures not only the facts of the subject’s life, but the essence of what made him or her groundbreaking. I was interested to learn that, in the case of Coco Chanel, she was a woman of style AND substance. She dressed in men’s clothing, ripped up garments to create never-before-seen looks, and did not allow societal conventions to define her. And she helped free women from corsets, gotta love THAT.

DIFFERENT LIKE COCO is author/illustrator Elizabeth Matthews’ first children’s book. I for one am eager to see what subject she turns her pens and brushes to next. I am also eager to see more non-fiction books like this one, which prioritize the style of their book design (don’t you want to eat that buttery yellow cover?) as much as the substance of the text. It is particularly appropriate for a book about a fashion icon, but would be a refreshing direction for books on less-glamorous historical figures (poor queasy Harriet Beecher Stowe, anyone?) and subject matter.

Hmm, there’s a new show for Bravo… Project Runway, Book Design Edition!

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