Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Coco Chanel's Apartment

In today's overwhelming amount of emails, there was a
lovely subscription post from 'Elements of Style' (*)
about Coco Chanel's apartment on 31 Rue Cambon, Paris.

Please do pop into 'Elements of Style' to read
her post and browse through her blog - it's great!

So, that email inspired me to this post for you guys..

Gabrielle is a huge role model for me, and
such inspiration for women who wish to make
their way up the streams of business.

 It is admirable that a woman in her age and time
was able to create such important and powerful
empire of style & fashion in a time that was
dominated by men and sexist business principles.

As long as you know men are 
 like children, you know everything!”
Coco Chanel

Coco believed in the power of women and
liberated them in more ways than one.
She was very practical, and never understood
the fashion of corsets and long skirts that made it
so difficult for women to move freely.
(read; that prevented them from being independent & free).

Women should have the 
possibility to laugh and eat, 
without necessarily having to faint.”
Coco Chanel

Not only did this remarkable woman create an
empire from scratch, but she did it with tasteful integrity,
and such impeccable style and precision that
it will continue to stand the test of time.

In Coco's on words:
Fashion fades, 
only style remains the same.”

Though Coco actually lived at the Ritz she kept her 3rd floor
apartment at 31 Rue Cambon for entertaining & work.

This is the 'Coco Chanel Suite' at the Ritz, recreated
for affluent guests to stay in whilst in Paris.
Click HERE to read more.

 Exterior of 31 Rue Cambon

On the first floor was the Chanel store, the second floor
the Haute Couture dressing rooms and the fourth
floor her workshop and atelier - still used today.

I think it is fabulous how she apparently ordered her
staff to spray Chanel No 5 around the stairway so that
her signature scent would greet her and her customers
every time they entered 31 Rue Cambon!

What a brilliant way of using a mnemonic device (*)
to reinforce her brand on the world!

"A women who doesn't 
wear perfume has no future."
Coco Chanel

I love how feminine and ornate her apartment is -
such a stark difference to the plain environment
of the convent she grew up in after her mother died.

 Despite her very practical no-fuss approach to fashion,
Coco was elegant & very feminine, and her apartment
reflects that as well as her love and understanding of luxury.

“I love luxury! 
And luxury lies not in richness
and ornateness but in the absence of vulgarity. 
Vulgarity is the ugliest word in our language. 
I stay in the game to fight it.”
 Coco Chanel

The apartment is everything but vulgar - here take a look..

Coco's sofa reportedly mixes her favourite colour (tan)
and material (suede) - apparently a combination that was
quite controversial in the world of interiors at the time.
Coco held interviews from this sofa, however was very
particular about who she allowed to join her on it.

Dining room.

Coco was a Leo and collected lions, some of
which are scattered around the apartment.

 This is the famous chandelier that Coco designed herself.

It features interlocking 'Cs', the letter 'G', as well as
her lucky number '5', and is yet another proof that
Coco so clearly understood the power of subtle branding.

 This is the famous faceted mirrored spiral
staircase that Coco designed herself.

It connects all four levels of her property and provided
Coco with a view of the audience's reactions
at fashion shows on the floor below.

In this photograph are the Chinese screens
that Coco had split and re-used as wall dressings.
They feature her favorite flower, the Camellia,
which she often used in her designs.

This birdcage in her sitting room was
the inspiration behind the 1992 Chanel commercial
with Vanessa Paradis (see the video here).
The Haute Couture dressing rooms on the 2nd floor.

Here are some great sources if you want to learn more
about this amazing woman and her Paris apartment.

*   *   *   * 

P.S. To read my review of the movie 'Coco Avant Chanel',
please click HERE. Merci X

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