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.
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.
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”
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’
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’
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.
although some of it’s staged, i have a feeling it wasn’t far from reality. let’s go inside.
“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”
‘My life didn’t please me, so I created my life’
once we strip off some of the facade, a very soft woman appears at home.
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!”
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!”
once back in the seriousness of daylight, she was all business. this is her pretty ladies’ desk for writing letters
and her home office where she refined her very definite ideas about life and style
“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.”
‘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.’
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
she must have treasured her roaring fireplace
and surrounded herself with beautiful books
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.’
‘There are people who have money and people who are rich’
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.”
doing the things we all do
eating, reading, working
on the phone
and although most of the shots are of her alone, the now iconic suede sofa she designed often hosted friends
who came for intimate chats
or host an audience while working with girls who came for fittings
‘Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!’
i think she was happy because she had a happy home
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.
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.
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!
bonjour et bon weekend! it’s only mid-august so i hope you’re still enjoying summer even if some kids have already gone back to school. seems like it always started in september for us…i’m not sure when that changed but it doesn’t mean summer is over! anyway, it’s been a whirlwind around here with lots of travel and good times and even though it feels like i just got back from paris i’m scheduled to head over again in a couple weeks. that said, i’ll be going to the maison et objet and shopping the markets with clients. let me know if you’ll be there in september too and want to meet for a cafe au lait!
as i was making plans, i started talking with one of my colleagues (and friend), madelyn at paris perfect luxury rentals and she told me about an incredible opportunity. this gorgeous apartment is available for a full three months! what a dream it would be to get some friends together and travel all fall. i wish i could make it happen and we could all come and go! well, even if i can’t wing it, maybe you’re interested in renting it. if so, contact madelyn here for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what Paris Perfect says: Have you ever wanted to wake up each morning and step out onto the balcony to see the soft colors of morning across the rooftops as the City of Light wakes up? Not having to feel rushed to see and experience everything as the days of a holiday–which never seem to be enough–pass by too quickly? Having the time to try the baguettes at all your localboulangeries until you find the one that is absolute perfection for you? Strolling leisurely along the Seine or popping in and out of boutiques without a hurry…falling in love with a garden and watching the seasons change. These are the moments where Paris really captures your heart and you can savor them again and again.
If you are considering spending more time in Paris, then we know just the place for you. How about a gorgeous and beautifully decorated two bedroom apartment with a picture perfect Eiffel Tower view? We know just the one that is available for rentals of 3 months or longer.
Go ahead … dreams really do come true!
see more about it here on the blog: www.parisperfect.com/blog/2014/07/paris-long-term-rental
anyway i wish it could be us…but if it’s you do it let me know!
allo et bonjour mes cheres amis!
checking in from paris where it’s 3:30 am and most sensible people are asleep.
at home i seem to need a solid 8 hours but here i’m getting by on 4 or 5.
guess it’s an obsession; a bit of not wanting to miss anything and being determined not to let these days slip through the cracks unaccounted for. so it’s editing, cropping, downloading and uploading photos after long days of walking for hours.
that said, i wanted to just say hello and post a few shots of the day at the market and around town. i’m still on my social media kick and it’s been a lot of fun tweeting and hashtagging and posting and learning what works as i go along. what i’m really enjoying is having no agenda for a minute and just taking my time and not feeling rushed.
i have a travel companion who is patient and understanding. and i think that may be the key to the whole social media and tech revolution. when i was fervently trying to text and tweet and multi-task in real time, it was impossible to focus and not one thing got uploaded (correctly anyway)! it’s only when i can sit quietly and go through images and edit, tag, interact and think that it works for me. otherwise it’s a burden and i can’t stand any of it! and that’s my tip for the day and note to self. stop rushing and be mindful with the content we’re creating. best of all, now that i’m not just hoarding pix and actually dispersing them of various channels, i’m actually having fun again and seeing my world of photos take shape and i like it. well, have a great night and enjoy the rest of the weekend. it’s official, i’m off to bed!