behind the facade

t_3302975_coco_chanel_pinkjeca_cool_v

bonjour encore et bonne année! i hope your new year is off to a smashing start. i don’t have any particular resolutions other than to make every day one to remember in some small way. blogging’s always been a good indicator of what’s going on cause it’s kind of a journal. i’ll be trying to use it this year as a tool for working on new projects and books. that said, today i’m continuing to uncover the private lives of style icons who are influencing my new tome, boudoir moderne and of course it wouldn’t be complete (let alone get started), without a nod to coco chanel.

382814_10150453680902130_1746653757_n

i went on overload researching her life apartment at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris and once i started finding images it was hard to quit so i enjoyed the indulgence. when you google ‘chanel bedroom’ all sorts of logos and fluff come up but nothing could be further from the way she lived.

Picture 38

384982_10150453683527130_562512904_nCHANELTRIP 089A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Parisparis31

Coco-Chanel-Apartment-31-Rue-Cambon-Parisimagesflikr-2flikr-1The-Iconic-Interior-Coco-ChanelScreen Shot 2015-01-02 at 12.21.03 PMcocco27sappartment1flikr-4

not that her home wasn’t opulent. she lived in a modest apartment but every inch of it was carefully curated that tended to and nurtured her in every way. her home was her backdrop, her stage. and she loved posing as the star of the show.

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury”

71style-icon-coco-chanel-L-lRB6Fn

this chair is one that greets you upon entry. it’s become famous for this series of shots of her lounging as a lady of leisure and grace. chanel was such a complex woman that to discuss who she was and her life and times is way out of my realm, but my observations from the shots collected did tell a story about what she was probably like behind closed doors. first of all she was not afraid to be photographed at any age. she accepted herself and saw beauty as an essence much more than face. and she was very philosophical!

‘Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty’

Coco_Chanel,_1920coco53627c4b4ecf2e3197fefe43c227b4abcsmttm-coco-chanel-4article-2084366-0F64C3FE00000578-668_306x475coco-chanel-standing-in-sitting-room-no-5-chandelier-Chanel-31-rue-camboncoco_enl

she was always dressed to the nines. maybe she did kick back in once in a while but even when she took her hat off she was still cool and sophisticated.

‘I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny’

4.-Coco-Chanel-2GettyImages_56233406

chanel seems to have had a very generous spirit for sharing her home, her life and her work. thankfully from an early age she welcomed photographers in so we could get a glimpse of how she lived.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 1.03.54 PM

although some of it’s staged, i have a feeling it wasn’t far from reality. let’s go inside.

09-513179

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 12.46.51 PM

‘My life didn’t please me, so I created my life’

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 1.20.06 PM

once we strip off some of the facade, a very soft woman appears at home.

05pausa4-sciolino-blog480

this was actually her bed at la pausa but i didn’t come across any other boudoir of hers besides the one at the ritz. still it shows a playful side with a star tucked in the headboard as well as a feather (she entertained)! and of couse, dressed to the hilt in silk pajamas.

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

2d1678770fe751f93f51683936dbaaad3538e6ca

as any self respecting woman did, she kept a beautiful vanity filled with silver trinkets, powders and perfumes. and i think that’s a negilgee hanging to the right!

“Where should one use perfume?” a young woman asked. “Wherever one wants to be kissed!”

cocomeme9

once back in the seriousness of daylight, she was all business. this is her pretty ladies’ desk for writing letters

Coco-Chanel-dans-son-appartement-au-Ritz-au-telephone-e1356267281919

and her home office where she refined her very definite ideas about life and style

sap53_71l01247_p

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

Coco-Chanel-one-of-the-most-important-people-of-the-20th-century

 ‘I wanted to give a woman comfortable clothes that would flow with her body. A woman is closest to being naked when she is well-dressed.’

Appartement-de-Coco-Chanel-au-Ritz-croquis-de-mode-e1356266487940

later in life she lets us in again to see an apartment that has grown in some ways, matured in its decor with the addition of travel mementos, books and statues

holding-chanel-apartment

she must have treasured her roaring fireplace

NPG x40051; Coco Chanel by Cecil BeatonNPG x40050; Coco Chanel by Cecil Beaton

coco-chanel

and surrounded herself with beautiful books

11_appart_video_large

lounging was apparently a pastime she enjoyed to the fullest without apology and understood that downtime in life was as important as success.

‘How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.’

422f55497b456fdbfd90d30c4badc142

‘There are people who have money and people who are rich’

coco2_500

this series of shots was one of her most revealing

“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.”

theia-bessy-31

doing the things we all do

LB0854

eating, reading, working

Gabrielle Coco Chanel - Coco Chanel at work with pearlschaneljewelry_front

contemplating

coco-chanel-7_176_large

chillin

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 1.46.46 PM

on the phone

chanel_sits_on_divan_1

entertaining

kirkland 3

and although most of the shots are of her alone, the now iconic suede sofa she designed often hosted friends

Cha8

who came for intimate chats

elle-chanel-02-h

Coco Chanel & Jeanne Moreaucocomeme

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 12.48.51 PM

3_17

or host an audience while working with girls who came for fittings

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 12.53.05 PM

coco-chanel-vogue-2-19nov14-douglas-kirkland-b-682x1024

‘Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!’

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 12.45.44 PM

hatami-sharok-1928-iran-coco-chanel-3609106

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 1.22.06 PM

i think she was happy because she had a happy home

blog27

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 1.24.41 PM

it seems she created a perfect little world just upstairs above her shop and it was her wonderland. a place she could go for refuge, that was a comfortable and reassuring as the arms of a lover.

408229_10150453679387130_1680645323_n

it was probably most comforting as she put on her face for life outside as the kingpin of CHANEL, that she knew just up that staircase was a little piece of heaven waiting for her. thank god the french have kept it intact.

7974_1308973002_2-e1335930131941

this may be my favorite shot, seeing her totally relaxed, unpressured, her true nature at peace. everything home should be for all of us.

‘I am not young but I feel young. The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there. J’aime la vie! I feel that to live is a wonderful thing.’

p.s. a new book is coming out i thought you may enjoy. i’ll try to get a copy or two for a giveaway. till then have a wonderful weekend!

January 2, 2015. Tags: , . Books, CHANEL, Paris, Paris Apartments.

10 Comments

  1. Ro replied:

    While I embrace Chanel’s philosophy about life and living and j’adore the pictures you posted of her apartment, the description that it was modest appeals to me most.
    My quest is to have an abode that is opulent but minimal, i.e., surround myself with functional but beautiful things. I’m working on trimming down and getting rid of stuff. From this point on, I’m traveling light, ready to move on without a lot of baggage (mental and physical).

    Like

  2. Merillion replied:

    What a lovely post! Chanel was quite a pretty & attractive woman. It looks like her clothes (love) were simple & tailored, but her apartment was richly decorated & even a bit frou-frou in places. Love that sofa, too.
    Also, she greeted her guests just the way I do – in my boudoir, wearing my silk pajamas & a hair ribbon! :)
    Marilyn

    Like

  3. thermoblitz replied:

    Love this blog post thank you for the insight. I look forward to the giveaway too xxx

    Like

  4. caryl@caryleagle.com replied:

    Loved this post! Very inspiring. Thank you!

    Caryl Eagle Production Designer for motion Photo stylist for print 760.695.7274 http://www.caryleagle.com

    >

    Like

  5. MJH Design Arts replied:

    This is exactly what I needed to start 2015. It is all about becoming, isn’t it? Being a fully alive human being. Thank you! Happy New Year!! xoxo Mary

    Like

  6. Nikon replied:

    She certainly knew how to live! Elegance, style, comfort, and just her presence is (to me) overwhelming.
    You really did a fabulous job of capturing her essence. Nice work!

    Like

  7. Karena Albert replied:

    Thank you Claudia!! I love all of these fabulous images! Mdme Chanel made her dreams come true and has a vision of wonder. She used motifs of the wheat sheaf and had a fabulous brass table with a wheat sheaf base…meant for good luck. Yves Saint Laurent had one as well!
    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

    Like

  8. sylvia faye replied:

    My first visit to you site and I came from Belle Francaise Interiors and that also was a first visit. I have put you as a favorite as I truly enjoyed the post on Coco Chanel as she was around when I was in high school and it was her perfume Chanel that we all truly loved.
    I have sent this post to my daughter on Cape Cod as she loves all things French and learned the language from grade one up…… You had to do a lot of searching to have come up with so many pictures and I especially liked the sayings of Coco that you added here and there…it is refreshing.
    With a prayerful heart,
    Sylvia Faye

    Like

  9. Lisa replied:

    I was thrilled by this post and the research you did. Thank you.

    Lisa X

    Like

  10. StyleQueen replied:

    What an inspirational woman. She was a very intriguing woman indeed.
    http://superficialstyle.blogspot.com.au/

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: