April 25 2014

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26 posts tagged "Coco Chanel"

Face Time With Coco Chanel


Marion Pike and Coco Chanel leaning on the artist's portrait of the designer

On September 5, the London College of Fashion’s Fashion Space Gallery will unveil a new exhibition dedicated to Mademoiselle Coco Chanel. Curated by LCF professor Amy de la Haye, the show will feature portraits of the designer by the late California artist Marion Pike.

According to the painter’s obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle, Chanel allegedly “refused” to sit for portraits by such luminaries as Pablo Picasso but willingly obliged for her friend Pike. The five canvases on display depict both Chanel’s impeccable taste and tacit intelligence—there’s a sharpness in those eyes, even though the designer first posed for Pike at the age of 84. Chanel also invited Pike to spend seven months observing her work in Paris. Afterward, the artist told the Los Angeles Times, “The atmosphere was frayed nerves, excitement, enthusiasm, frustration, gloom, and energy. It was watching the creation of art in its purest sense.” In her career, Pike also painted Ronald Reagan (that piece made the cover of Time in 1966) and Pope John Paul II.

A number of Chanel-designed couture pieces will complement the expo, courtesy of Pike’s daughter, Jeffie Pike Durham. The show will run until November 16.

Fashion Space Gallery is located at 20 John Princes Street in London.

Photo: Courtesy of Fashion Space Gallery

The Little Black Jacket, Unbuttoned


For Fall ’13 Karl Lagerfeld showed Chanel‘s classic black jacket in a host of hard-edged iterations—one of which featured X-shaped pockets on the chest. Indeed, Chanel’s little tweed coat has been through a lot since Mme. Coco first presented it in the 1950s. Originally designed to allow ease of movement and comfort, the jacket has been reimagined by Lagerfeld countless times since he took the house’s creative helm in 1983. He’s cropped it, cinched it, dyed it a rainbow of colors, and embellished it with everything from zippers to bows to fringe. However, Lagerfeld (who released a book about the luxe essential last year) seems to always ensure that his interpretations retain the essence of Gabrielle Chanel’s iconic design.

As part of an ongoing retrospective film series that Chanel has been running on its interactive Web site,, the house has released its fourth historical short. And it explores—what else?—the evolution of the little black jacket. Have a watch and learn why, as Lagerfeld claims, the only things that will always be in style are “jeans, a white shirt, and a Chanel jacket.”

Karl, King of Scots?


Thanks to Karl Lagerfeld’s penchant for destination runways—St. Tropez, Versailles, Shanghai—Chanel’s Métier d’Arts show, a lavish pre-fall catwalk romp that champions the ateliers owned by the house, like glove-maker Causse, embroidery house Maison Lesage, and milliner Maison Michel, will be staged in Scotland this season. At a grand fifteenth-century castle famed for housing the likes of Mary, Queen of Scots, no less. It’s no coincidence that Chanel chose to debut their pre-fall looks at Linlithgow Palace in West Lothian after acquiring the Scottish cashmere brand, Barrie Knitwear, which has worked with Chanel for over two decades.

According to the Telegraph, Chanel has started putting up tents and prepping the medieval fortress for the fashion set, although it’s rumored that the show itself, scheduled for December 4, will take place in the palace courtyard. As if the regal locale weren’t enough, the house has reportedly commissioned a custom-made glass roof to protect editors from the infamous Lowland cold.

While this marks Chanel’s first Scottish runway excursion, Mme. Chanel had a long relationship with the Highlands. In the twenties, they served as her favorite spot to canoodle with her lover, the Duke of Westminster, who owned a mansion in Rosehall. It was there that she famously dressed up in the duke’s fishing clothes and posed for a photo with her pal and business partner, Vera Bate Lombardi (above). This summer, it was announced that their country escape would be converted into a hotel after the completion of a £6 million renovation. It’s doubtful that Karl will pay a visit to Coco’s old stomping ground, but here’s hoping he’ll break out his famed full-length tartan kilt for the runway festivities.

Have Your Coco And Wear It Too


Just try to find a picture of Coco Chanel without her signature strands of pearls—it’s not an easy task. The woman certainly loved her little black jackets and dresses, but she also had a well-known penchant for jewelry. In honor of what would be the designer’s 129th birthday (August 19), is launching an online birthday capsule collection sale of Chanel jewelry and accessories. Starting tomorrow at 3 p.m., over 60 necklaces, sautoirs, brooches, bracelets, and earrings dating from the sixties through 2008, curated by Douglas Rosin Decorative Arts & Antiques, will be for sale on the site. Especially of note in the collection (ranging in price from $500 to $5,000) are the designs adorned with colored stones and faux pearls, made by the Paris-based specialists at Gripoix (which handmade a great deal of Chanel’s jewelry). Here, a first look at one of the Gripoix pieces in the sale.


Putting Off The Ritz

------- contributing editor and party reporter Darrell Hartman circles the city and, occasionally, the globe in the line of duty. In a new column, he reports on the topics—whatever they may be at whatever given moment—that are stirring the social set.

As usual at the most recent Paris Couture collections, there were openings—including a big one for Louis Vuitton’s haute joaillerie store on Place Vendôme. But this time around, there was a major closing, too. As just about everyone knows by now, the Ritz is shutting its doors at the end of July. Not forever, just for two years and change. Of course, to a lot of fashion people, that is forever.

“Everybody’s talking about it,” Claire Courtins-Clarins told me at the Louis Vuitton party. We were, incidentally, at the Ritz; Vuitton had booked the hotel’s pool room for one last go-round. The Atelier Versace show had happened there two nights before—poignantly, considering it was Gianni Versace’s old venue. (That’s Gianni, below, with the usual clatch of supermodels backstage at the Ritz during one of his Couture shows.) Immediately after Donatella’s runway came down, a VIP section went up, for an after-party with a performance by M.I.A.

If the hotel owes its place in the fashion annals to anyone, however, it’s Coco Chanel. The designer lived there from 1934 until 1971, albeit on the less glamorous Rue Cambon side. “Poor Chanel, I use the front door of the Ritz, she must use the back,” Elsa Schiaparelli liked to snipe. Continue Reading “Putting Off The Ritz” »