Daly City Public Library Associates

Author C.W. Gortner


Christopher W. Gortner is best known for his classical Renaissance fiction focused on such historical figures at Isabella of Castile and Catherine de Medici. He spins tales of heartless seductresses and stories filled with regal pageantry and sinister plots.


In a break from his series of successful Renaissance novels, C.W. moved his focus to a different time period with his compelling “Mademoiselle Chanel”. Garter is no stranger to the world of fashion. He received an A.A. from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco and had an eleven-year career in the fashion industry. This experience helped enormously as portrays Ms. Chanel.


Coco's upbringing in a Catholic orphanage is an extraordinary story. She rose from poverty to become a quintessential French fashion designer whose talents revolutionized women’s clothing. Early in her career Coco rejected restrictive corsets which were considered fashionable in the early 20th century.  Instead, she created sportswear pieces made of jersey fabric that reflected the ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman.


Coco’s designs were sleek and fashionable. They were also wildly successful. Her savvy businesswoman side led to the creation of a fashion empire.


C.W. fascinated the audience with stories about his researching the book. He then answered questions about everything from her millinery skills to that famous “little black dress” to Chanel No. 5. His presentation was as intimate and his novel.


C.W. acknowledged that upon finishing “Mademoiselle Chanel” he enjoyed a terrific sense of accomplishment for completing the book, but he also had a sense of loss because he would no longer be spending his days chronicling the life and times of a truly amazing woman.