25 May, 2015

The many lives of Miss K : Toto Koopman - model, muse, spy by Jean-Noel Liaut

What a surprise to discover another notable independent, original woman from the early 20th century. Most of her contemporaries have had numerous biographies written about them but “Toto” Koopman appears to be a new discovery.

Beautiful, stylish, charismatic, adventurous, bisexual, intelligent (she spoke five languages), mysterious, versatile and adaptable... where does it end! A girl ahead of her time, ignoring all the rules and living life to the fullest (her way).

Born in Java then on to Paris where she modelled for Chanel and appeared on the cover of Vogue. Moving from mingling with cafe society’s rich and famous to espionage in World War II then imprisonment by the Nazis in a concentration camp, Toto appears to take it all in her stride.

After the war she lived in London with Erica Brausen, the art dealer who launched Francis Bacon’s career, gained a degree in archaeology and set up a home with Brausen on the island of Panarea (in the Aeolian chain north of Sicily).

Be inspired by a gal who would fit right into modern times. Toto Koopman makes Madonna and Lady Gaga look boring! One of the best biographies I've ever read.

The author has also written biographies about Givenchy and Karen Blixen.

Title: The many lives of Miss K : Toto Koopman - model, muse, spy.
Author: Jean-Noel Liaut

Reviewed by Claire S, Central City Library

Claire S works in the Information Services/Arts Team and loves reading biographies, contemporary fiction and non-fiction (art and anything related to New Zealand).

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