100 books like Chanel's Riviera

By Anne De Courcy,

Here are 100 books that Chanel's Riviera fans have personally recommended if you like Chanel's Riviera. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris

Emma Baxter-Wright Author Of Chanel Paperscapes: The Book That Transforms Into a Work of Art

From my list on the provocative talents of the fashion industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a failed fashion designer, the history of twentieth-century fashion, represented both visually and in the form of narrative text, make up the bulk of my ever-increasing library of fashion books. In order to write about fashion, either as a biographer of one of the great designers or cutting-edge photographers, it is crucial to acknowledge what was deemed as desirable in a previous generation and a previous context. As Yves Saint Laurent famously said, "Fashion fades, Style is eternal." Fashion in its broader sense has never existed in a vacuum and an understanding of fashion history and fashion imagery, that so clearly evokes a specific era, is the very best way to appreciate the cyclical nature of this creative business.  

Emma's book list on the provocative talents of the fashion industry

Emma Baxter-Wright Why did Emma love this book?

Meticulously researched by brilliant fashion journalist Alicia Drake, this book charts the bitchy, high octane rivalry of two mega egos of the industry, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. As a journalist working today in an era of horrendous consumerism known as ‘fast fashion’ this detailed account of how both men were instrumental in shifting the established codes of a refined haute couture system into a faster-paced ready-to-wear market in the 1970s is illuminating. It also documents the evolution of couturier as a celebrity, detailing how YSL used an image of himself to promote his aftershave in 1971, a revolutionary idea of self-promotion at the time, and now a very necessary part of the ‘selfie’ obsessed generation of creatives working in fashion.  

By Alicia Drake,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Beautiful Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1950s Paris, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld were friends, the rising stars of the fashion world. But by the late sixties, the city was invaded by a new mood of liberation and hedonism, and dominated by intrigue, infidelities, addiction and parties. Each designer created his own mesmerizing world, so vivid and seductive that people were drawn to the power, charisma and fame, and it was to make them bitter rivals. "The Beautiful Fall" is a dazzling expose of an era and the story of the two men who were its essence and who remain its most singular survivors.


Book cover of Vivienne Westwood: An Unfashionable Life

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell Author Of The Way We Wed: A Global History of Wedding Fashion

From my list on biographies of fashion designers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fashion historian Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell is the author of Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, Worn on This Day: The Clothes That Made History, and The Way We Wed: A Global History of Wedding Fashion. She is working on a biography of designer Chester Weinberg.

Kimberly's book list on biographies of fashion designers

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell Why did Kimberly love this book?

This began as an authorized biography, but Westwood proved such a slippery subject that journalist Mulvagh wisely decided to proceed without the designer’s cooperation. The result is a warts-and-all portrait of the important, eccentric, and often infuriating designer, from her scrappy, sloppy punk roots to her current status as the kooky grande dame of British fashion. She’s surrounded by an equally chaotic and colorful cast of feckless boyfriends, gurus, and musicians; London in the 70s and 80s is a character in its own right. Westwood’s raw talent shines through a litany of bad decisions, controversies, and copycats.

By Jane Mulvagh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vivienne Westwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed biography of one of England's great eccentrics and leading fashion designers, reissued in an updated edition to coincide with a major exhibition of Westwood's work at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

For three decades, Vivienne Westwood has been Britain's most consistently original, outrageous, eccentric and controversial designer. In that time she has evolved from an iconoclastic outsider to an internationally revered figure, with two British Designer of the Year awards, an OBE, her own successful fashion label and an unrivalled reputation for leading where other designers follow. Her lifestyle could scarcely be in greater contrast to the opulence…


Book cover of Arsho Baghsarian: A Life in Shoes

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell Author Of The Way We Wed: A Global History of Wedding Fashion

From my list on biographies of fashion designers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fashion historian Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell is the author of Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, Worn on This Day: The Clothes That Made History, and The Way We Wed: A Global History of Wedding Fashion. She is working on a biography of designer Chester Weinberg.

Kimberly's book list on biographies of fashion designers

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell Why did Kimberly love this book?

The subject of this colorful miniature coffee table book has a resumé that stretches from Christian Dior in the 1960s to Stuart Weitzman in the 2020s. Baghsarian’s whimsical, sculptural shoes have a timeless charm; most of them could be worn today, with pleasure. But she remains largely unknown, even though her elastic and leather 5050 boot—created 30 years ago—is still a bestseller. Verin reminds us that long before Blahnik, Choo, and Louboutin, women like Baghsarian, Beth Levine, and Mabel Julianelli dominated the American footwear scene.

By Helene Verin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Arsho Baghsarian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most important shoe designers of the mid- to late twentieth century, Arsho Baghsarian spent more than four decades working behind the scenes for prestigious companies with men's names on the label, including Christian Dior, Andrew Geller, I. Miller, and Stuart Weitzman, as well as Shoe Biz. Her creative genius is illustrated in this photographic collection of full-page sketches, prototypes, and production pairs that she donated to the Fashion Institute of Technology. Known for her sculptural heels and the use of exotic materials such as snakeskin, crystal, and Lucite, Baghsarian's extraordinary journey spans from a childhood in Turkey…


Book cover of Charles James: Portrait of an Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell Author Of The Way We Wed: A Global History of Wedding Fashion

From my list on biographies of fashion designers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fashion historian Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell is the author of Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, Worn on This Day: The Clothes That Made History, and The Way We Wed: A Global History of Wedding Fashion. She is working on a biography of designer Chester Weinberg.

Kimberly's book list on biographies of fashion designers

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell Why did Kimberly love this book?

Like any art form, fashion has its share of tortured geniuses. Perhaps none combined genius and torture with as much panache as Charles James, who dressed celebrities and socialites only to die in poverty. Vogue editor Bettina Ballard remembered that “he was constantly cutting and perfecting” his toiles, “which he turned, very occasionally, into actual dresses.” A personality as complex and demanding as his sculptural evening gowns, James knew everybody and got along with nobody—and you’ll understand why after reading Klein’s biography, which draws on recently discovered, unfiltered tapes James made for a planned autobiography that, like so many of his creations, he never he finished.

By Michele Gerber Klein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Charles James as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Christian Dior described him as the inspiration for the New Look. Salvador Dali called his work soft sculpture, and Virginia Woolf exclaimed, He is a genius. As George Bernard Shaw tells us, only unreasonable men change the world. This portrait of the life and times of Charles James winner of two Coty awards, and the subject of a 2014 Metropolitan Museum of Art show draws on the glamour of Europe in the 1930s, and the dazzle of New York City from the 40s through the 70s as it travels with James from his birth to privilege in England in 1906…


Book cover of Bonjour Tristesse: A Novel

Carol Drinkwater Author Of The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France

From my list on fiction and non-fiction about the South of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thirty-five years ago, I bought a dilapidated olive farm overlooking the Bay of Cannes. I was well-known as an actress for such roles as Helen Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small. Moving to Provence, living on the Mediterranean, transformed my life. I became passionate about the landscape, history, art, languages, literature of the region. I spent 17 months travelling solo round the Mediterranean basin, searching out the history and cultures of the olive tree, a mythical plant. I was invited to work with UNESCO to create a Mediterranean Olive Route. I make films, TV programmes, and write books. Almost all my work is set in the south of France.

Carol's book list on fiction and non-fiction about the South of France

Carol Drinkwater Why did Carol love this book?

In my opinion this is one of the great novels about adolescence. What makes it so special is that it is deliciously French and amoral. The story of a French teenage girl, Cecile, and her father. They are a team. You might almost call them a couple. Cecile accompanies her father everywhere including to casinos and bars. She accepts his mistresses. Matters take a more macabre turn when her father invites one of his ladies to holiday with them in the south of France and Cecile learns that he intends to marry this particular woman. Françoise Sagan was eighteen when she wrote this, her first novel. Within months of its publication she became an overnight sensation. The writing is sexy and chic. Sagan perfectly describes the French Riviera in the mid-fifties and a woman’s role in society back then. It was an instant classic and deserves its place in the…

By Françoise Sagan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bonjour Tristesse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sensational 1954 French novel that has become a contemporary classic

Set against the translucent beauty of France in summer, Bonjour Tristesse is a bittersweet tale narrated by Cecile, a seventeen-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood, whose meddling in her father's love life leads to tragic consequences.

Endearing, self-absorbed, seventeen-year-old Cécile is the very essence of untroubled amorality. Freed from the stifling constraints of boarding school, she joins her father—a handsome, still-young widower with a wandering eye—for a carefree, two-month summer vacation in a beautiful villa outside of Paris with his latest mistress. Cécile cherishes the free-spirited moments she…


Book cover of Super-Cannes

Carol Drinkwater Author Of The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France

From my list on fiction and non-fiction about the South of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thirty-five years ago, I bought a dilapidated olive farm overlooking the Bay of Cannes. I was well-known as an actress for such roles as Helen Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small. Moving to Provence, living on the Mediterranean, transformed my life. I became passionate about the landscape, history, art, languages, literature of the region. I spent 17 months travelling solo round the Mediterranean basin, searching out the history and cultures of the olive tree, a mythical plant. I was invited to work with UNESCO to create a Mediterranean Olive Route. I make films, TV programmes, and write books. Almost all my work is set in the south of France.

Carol's book list on fiction and non-fiction about the South of France

Carol Drinkwater Why did Carol love this book?

This novel couldn’t be more different from my other choices. It is set on a high-tech park called Eden-Olympia nestling (malevolently!) in the hills behind Cannes. The story is fantastic in a way that is born of Ballard’s brilliant mind. It is a twenty-first century, stylised thriller, and way ahead of its time. Ballard takes the edgy, seamier side of life on this French Riviera coast with its racism and elitism several imaginative steps too far and delivers a shocking tale. I read this novel when it was first published and it haunted me for years. After two more readngs, it remains as powerful as my first introduction to it. Definitely a novel I wish I had written.

By J.G. Ballard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Super-Cannes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A high-tech business park on the Mediterranean is the setting for a most disturbing crime in this reissue featuring a new introduction by Ali Smith.

A disturbing mystery awaits Paul and Jane Sinclair when they arrive in Eden-Olympia, a high-tech business park in the hills above Cannes. Jane is to work as a doctor for those who live in this ultra-modern workers' paradise. But what caused her predecessor to go on a shooting spree that made headlines around the world? As Paul investigates, he begins to uncover a thriving subculture of crime that is spiralling out of control.

Both novel…


Book cover of Break of Day

Richard Goodman Author Of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France

From my list on the South of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and a teacher of writing who fell in love with France after my first visit fifty years ago. I was lucky enough once to spend a year in a small village about thirty miles west of Avignon in the south where I was able to observe, and eventually participate in, the daily life of this village. I wrote my book, French Dirt, about that experience. I have read intently about the South of France ever since with an eye for those books that truly capture the spirit and character of these people who are the heart of this storied part of France.

Richard's book list on the South of France

Richard Goodman Why did Richard love this book?

Break of Day is a uniquely beautiful book, short and elegant. It's about the solace Colette's house and garden in the South of France provided her after a broken marriage. No truer book has been written about that part of France, and how that land can ravish a visitor. I thought of it often when I was writing my own book. Colette had a house in the hills above St.-Tropez, and she writes about gardening, the movements of the day, her animals, the people who come and go, and the delicious, sensual tastes of that part of the world. Break of Day is also an elegy to the memory of her mother, whose strength guides the writer through her exquisite melancholy. Colette writes with a pen dipped in sun, oil, sweat, and salt. 

By Colette, Enid McLeod (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Break of Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Colette began writing Break of Day in her early fifties, at Saint-Tropez on the Côte d'Azur, where she had bought a small house after the breakup of her second marriage. The novel's theme―the renunciation of love and the return to an independent existence supported and enriched by the beauty and peace of nature―grows out of Colette's own period of self-assessment in the middle of her life. A collection of subtle reflections about love and life, it is among her most thoughtful and stylistically bold works.


Book cover of The Promise of Provence

Lise McClendon Author Of Blackbird Fly

From my list on transporting you to France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m American but I’ve been a Francophile for ages. I didn’t get a chance to visit France until well into adulthood. So much history lives in France and it’s been my joy to illuminate it for readers who tell me they feel transported. There is no higher compliment, in my mind. I’ve been writing novels for thirty years, set in the Rocky Mountains, America’s heartland, and the scenic villages of France. The Bennett Sisters Mysteries are now up 18 books in the series, featuring settings from Paris to Champagne to the Dordogne, with more in the works. I must go back to France to research, oui

Lise's book list on transporting you to France

Lise McClendon Why did Lise love this book?

A dream of many who live in cold climates is to live a second life (or first or third) in sunny France, and in particular Provence. Sands mainlines that dream in this book and especially the healing properties of sunshine and lavender. Her heroine recovers from a painful divorce and is reinvigorated, all the best qualities of a vacation, in reality or in reading. 

By Patricia Sands,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Promise of Provence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the evening of her twenty-second wedding anniversary, Katherine Price can't wait to celebrate. But instead of receiving an anniversary card from her husband, she finds a note asking for a divorce.

Fifty-five and suddenly alone, Katherine begins the daunting task of starting over. She has her friends, her aging mother, and her career to occupy her, but the future seems to hold little promise-until, after a winter of heartbreak, Katherine is persuaded to try a home exchange holiday in the South of France.

In Provence, bright fields of flowers bloom below medieval hilltop villages with winding cobblestone streets. Charmed…


Book cover of The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel

Catherine A. Hamilton Author Of Victoria's War

From my list on inspired by heroic women from around the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a native Oregonian of Polish descent, I was born in the small town of Sweet Home, Oregon. After finishing high school, I moved to Portland where I graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a Master’s degree in psychology. I spent twelve years as a psychotherapist, publishing over a dozen articles. After joining a writing group and trying my hand at fiction, my stories, articles, and poems have been published in magazines and newspapers—including Sarasota Herald-Tribune, The Oregonian, Catholic Sentinel, Dziennik Związkowy, and The Polish American Journal. My debut novel, Victoria’s War, won CIBA’s Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction and was #1 Best Seller on Amazon Kindle Unlimited in German Historical Fiction.

Catherine's book list on inspired by heroic women from around the world

Catherine A. Hamilton Why did Catherine love this book?

We all know the name of the woman behind the perfume—Coco Chanel, right? But how many of us know the story behind this legendary woman? Very few! I didn’t really know the first thing about her! Still, I loved her! In The Queen of Paris, I got to know the woman who created Chânél No.5 and designed the first “little black dress.”

And I learned why Chânél No. 5 is made in Pairs. The secret is this: because the jasmine used in making this particular perfume is only grown in France! No more spoilers! Except to say that Ewen’s Coco enticed me from the start with gossip and truths about one of the most successful women in the fashion industry—and what lengths she was willing to go to save her life’s work during WWII.

A riveting historical novel that I would read again!

By Pamela Binnings Ewen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queen of Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Barnes & Noble Pick of Best Indie eBooks of 2020
An iBooks Bestseller in Fiction
A Pop Sugar Pick of Books set in Paris

Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style—the iconic little black dress—and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life of Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII—as discovered in recently…


Book cover of The Vanished Collection

Lilianne Milgrom Author Of L'Origine: The Secret Life of the World's Most Erotic Masterpiece

From my list on France that go beyond the rom com.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Paris-born, award-winning artist and author. Although I have lived on four continents, France is in my blood and draws me back time and again. It’s no surprise that countless novels are set in France – and Paris in particular. My debut historical fiction L’Origine: The secret life of the world’s most erotic masterpiece marries my three passions – History (I majored in French history), Art, and Literature. I'm the recipient of six literary honors and my freelance articles and blog posts can be found on platforms such as HuffPost, France Magazine, DailyArt Magazine, Bonjour Paris, The Book Commentary, and BookBrunch. I hope you enjoy the eclectic range of books on my recommended list!

Lilianne's book list on France that go beyond the rom com

Lilianne Milgrom Why did Lilianne love this book?

Pauline Baer de Perignon doesn’t hold anything back – she puts her ego aside as she shares her secret ambitions, doubts and insecurities, triumphs and frustrations on her mission to uncover a distressing chapter in her family’s history. The rhythm and pace are indicative of a book translated from the French - a slow-moving train rather than a speeding locomotive, but that just enhanced the feeling of accompanying the author on her passionate yet painful quest in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

By Pauline Baer de Perignon, Natasha Lehrer (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vanished Collection as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A charming and heartfelt story about war, art, and the lengths a woman will go to find the truth about her family.

'As devourable as a thriller... Incredibly moving' Elle
'Pauline Baer de Perignon is a natural storyteller - refreshingly honest, curious and open' Menachem Kaiser
'A terrific book' Le Point

It all started with a list of paintings. There, scribbled by a cousin she hadn't seen for years, were the names of the masters whose works once belonged to her great-grandfather, Jules Strauss: Renoir, Monet, Degas, Tiepolo and more. Pauline Baer de Perignon knew little to nothing about Strauss,…


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