Yesterday I reviewed the fabulous exhibition The Chanel Legend. Coinciding and part of the exhibition is the launch of a new children’s book inspired by Coco Chanel’s colourful biography: Coco or the little black dress, by prize-winning Dutch book illustrator and author Annemarie van Haeringen. With its enchanting illustrations, the book offers a breathtaking account of the life of Coco Chanel that will delight readers of all ages. (available in Dutch and English)
Annemarie van Haeringen’s touching little story is like a modern fairytale. Little Coco grows up in an orphanage where she has to toil to pay her way under the thumb of black-clad ‘aunties’. But she also learns to sew and embroider. At the age of eighteen, she has to find a job. The world is her oyster. And there’s one thing Coco knows for sure: she never, ever wants to be poor again.
The book is also the basis for the museum’s special children’s gallery. The venue showcases an exhibition of Annemarie van Haeringen’s original illustrations on the walls, together with relevant objects from the museum’s collections. Every Sunday afternoon from 12.00 to 16.00, there will be a free, walk-in workshop for children aged 5 and over to design a little black dress for their Barbie. There is a dress up space with mini Chanel jackets, bags and pearls. Kids can walk down a real catwalk, or style fabrics on a mannequin. Or they can read the book, craft, draw and colour.
While I was there I had the pleasure to meet the author and have her dedicate and sign a book for my little niece Jenna. Annemarie van Haeringen made the signing session extra special by drawing little Coco on the spot as an add-on of her signature. How special is that?
Coco or the little black dress is available at the price of €13.95 from all good bookshops in the Netherlands and from the museum shop at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.