August 1 2014

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28 posts tagged "Coco Chanel"

Fifty Shades of Grey Director Sam Taylor-Johnson Takes Us Inside Coco Chanel’s Paris Pad



If you’ve always dreamed of touring Coco Chanel’s apartment on 31 rue Cambon, you’re in luck. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, who just wrapped Fifty Shades of Grey, recently took up residence inside the designer’s home to shoot Second Floor, a set of 45 images that will debut at London’s Saatchi Gallery in September. According to The Telegraph, the exhibit will be everything we could hope for—and more. “Shooting at Coco Chanel’s apartment was an unexpectedly absorbing experience,” said Taylor-Johnson. “The essence of Chanel is firmly rooted there in all of her possessions, and I truly believe that her spirit and soul still inhabit the second floor.” We get pretty spiritual when we talk about Chanel, too.

Save for a few special guests, the apartment has long been a mystery to the public, so it’s going to be exciting to see Coco’s chandelier with rock-crystal camellias; leather-bound editions of Shakespeare, Voltaire, and Byron; and the white satin armchair in which she sat for a Horst photograph in 1937 (above). “The apartment is beautifully stylish,” said Taylor-Johnson. “It feels like she had meticulously chosen every object.” And in case you were wondering—no. None of those curated objects are whips.

Second Floor will be on view September 12 to 22 at the Saatchi Gallery, London, and will be accompanied by a book.

Photo: Horst P. Horst

Tim Blanks on Karl Lagerfeld’s Lasting Impact at Chanel



It goes without saying that everyone loves Chanel. The numbers alone prove it: Season after season, Chanel is the number one most-viewed show on But few really know Chanel’s history beyond Coco’s “little black dress” and white camellias. We can thank Karl Lagerfeld for the brand’s incredible staying power, and in this week’s Throwback Thursdays video, Tim Blanks revisits the Kaiser’s first collections for the storied house. To this day, Lagerfeld tirelessly brings Chanel’s codes into the future; he is always thinking about the new and now. Blanks refers to Lagerfeld as “fashion’s superhero,” and we can’t say we’ve heard a better comparison. Watch the full video here.

Where Fashion Jewelry Is Concerned, Goossens Gets It



Jewelry house Goossens has collaborated with all the most important designers of the past sixty-odd years. Its most enduring association, though, is its relationship with Gabrielle Chanel. Now a part of the Chanel mother ship, the house continues to revisit the kind of jewelry Mademoiselle favored, both in terms of spirit and technique (though, to be clear, Goossens does not produce Chanel’s fashion jewelry).
This fall, the brand’s managing director, Patrick Goossens, returns to some of the styles Mademoiselle loved most. For instance, he paired the largest freshwater pearls he could find with rose quartz and pink rock crystal on a sautoir from the Essentiels line. His ongoing fascination with Indian themes is reflected in an imposing Taj Mahal bracelet and earrings in smoky or blue poured glass. These wares offer a convincing imitation of Indian-cut diamonds and cabochons. (Fortunately, however, these are far lighter on the lobes and the wallet than they appear.)

Still, any heritage house must modernize for a new generation—and that is where fall’s headline comes in. With its new range of accessibly priced “mixed” jewelry designed to appeal to both men and women, Goossens is reaching out to a younger, edgier customer. Take, for example, slim gold-plated bangles and rings that snap closed with a top hinge; crystal pendants that rotate (an idea carried over from last season’s Rune collection); and twin bracelets that can be left to jangle on the arm or, thanks to a clever clip, be worn as one piece. That last detail actually caters to the noise-sensitive guys out there. “All men hate jangling,” Goossens admits. “I’m always telling my wife to stop.”

It’s a big move, but Goossens feels the time is right. “We’ve really gotten to the roots of fashion jewelry as I see it,” Goossens concludes. “The trick is to express a maximum of things with a minimum of elements, without losing sight of who we are.”

Photo: Courtesy Photo 

Coco and Karl: The Opera


Karl Lagerfeld Opera

We’ve always revered the house of Chanel on a borderline-religious level, but director Robert Carsen took Coco and Karl’s divinity-like qualities a bit more literally. In Carsen’s new adaptation of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s famous comic opera Platée, a Karl look-alike (think white ponytail, slim black suit, leather pants, and fluffy pet cat) plays the devious Jupiter, and a woman in tweed—a riff on Coco—plays Juno, his jealous wife.

According to WWD, the satire dates back to the 18th century and was inspired by the marriage of Louis, Dauphin of France, and Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain, who was evidently no beauty queen. To quell Juno’s raging jealousy, Jupiter descends to Earth (on the famous mirrored staircase from Chanel HQ, to boot) and pretends to flirt with Platée, an ugly water nymph. Initially outraged, Juno realizes Jupiter would never fall for Platée—who truly believes Jupiter loves her. Jupiter and Juno reconcile and return to Olympus, leaving lowly Platée on Earth to despair in her misfortune.

While we can’t imagine Coco and Karl could ever be so cruel (or could they?), we wouldn’t mind seeing their wicked antics onstage. The Franco-Austrian production premiered in Vienna last week, is running in Paris through Sunday, and will come to New York’s Lincoln Center on April 2.

Photo: Monika Rittershaus via WWD 

In Paris, Cartier Shows Off Its Dazzling History



The exhibition Cartier: Le Style et l’Histoire opens tomorrow in the freshly restored Salon d’Honneur at the Grand Palais in Paris, and to say it’s dazzling would be a gross understatement. Overwhelming is the only fit description for the show’s richness and scope.

Upon entering this low-lit exhibit, the diamonds on which the jeweler built its reputation hit you between the eyes. Slowly spinning on a column is a remarkable display of tiaras worn by such royalty as Princess Marie Bonaparte and American high-society figures including Mary Scott Townsend, whose headpiece prompted one onlooker to comment, “But she wasn’t even royalty!”

Yet however regal Cartier’s origins, the purpose of this 600-piece exhibition is to show its evolution from “jeweler to the kings” to inventor of modern, radical style. Two early twentieth-century examples: the bold graphics of diamonds paired with onyx, and daring to show color combinations that were previously considered in poor taste (think sapphires and emeralds). The idea of shaking up the fine jewelry palette started when Cartier developed close ties with fashion, notably with the original haute couturier, Charles Frederick Worth. It further gathered momentum many years later, when Coco Chanel began mixing Cartier’s wares with semiprecious stones. A Deco evening dress by Jérôme, on loan from the Palais Galliera, adds further texture to an impressive array of everyday objects small and large, from cigarette cases and lighters to opera glasses, handbags, and clocks.


Two cornerstone gems are the 478-carat Sri Lankan sapphire, one of the largest in the world, which once belonged to Queen Marie of Romania, and the Berenice, a carved emerald of Mongol origin, which was mounted into a necklace for the International Exhibition of 1925.

And then there were Cartier’s clients, A-listers all. A rogues’ gallery of Café Society figures, loyal customers, and style-makers begins with major collector Daisy Fellowes, whose favorite tutti-frutti Hindu necklace was renegade in its day, and includes Marjorie Merriweather Post, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor, and the original panther client, Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, as well as Barbara Hutton (who preferred tigers). Special displays pay tribute to Maria Félix, who is said to have brought live baby crocodiles into the Cartier shop to illustrate her commission. The jeweled result is on display.

Also shown are more familiar pieces, such as the Halo tiara, which the Duchess of Cambridge wore on her wedding day in 2011. The crown was originally commissioned in 1936 by the Duke of York, the future King George IV of England. So opulent is Cartier’s display that, by the time you catch Grace Kelly’s practically perfect 10.47-carat diamond engagement ring, it seems like the most demure piece in the world.

Photo: Courtesy of Cartier