Chez Coco Chanel
Dear Diva Readers,
ere at The Antiques Diva & Co, we often get tour inquiries from clients who want to purchase a piece of “Chanel history.” Of course our Paris Diva Guides know all the hot spots to score vintage Chanel garments or jewelry but they also know the classic haunts that Mademoiselle herself would frequent. As you’re out and about shopping for vintage Chanel in Paris you can’t help but sashay past some of these landmarks while meandering from vintage Chanel shop to vintage Chanel shop. One such place on our Must See Diva Guide is 31 rue Cambon, Chanel’s apartment above her flagship store. While not open to the public, from time to time – on mega VIP occasions – we’ve been admitted entrance. But even if you’re just walking by you can almost smell #5 in the air as you look up to her window from the street and imagine Paris as it was decades before… After all, not much has changed.
If you’re as enchanted by Madamoiselle as I am I want to share some photos and a bit of history about Gabrielle Chanel’s private apartment. One might picture a chic black and white flat, something similar to a classic Chanel suit. But the rooms above the Chanel store reflect anything but simplicity. Coco lived large. A smart mix of color and pattern saturate the place. The apartment is infused with rich details including shelf after shelf of leather bound books, most with red accents in the bindings. Black lacquered furniture and Chinese screens mix nicely with French antique pieces, allowing East to meet West.
Symbolism is another prevalent theme in this private residence. The camellia flower was an important symbol to Coco Chanel perhaps because it represents purity and longevity in Asian culture. She kept ears of golden wheat near the fireplace. One might think this strange—until you know the meaning behind it. Wheat symbolizes prosperity and wealth, things that Chanel had not grown up with, but rather worked her way to.
These themes have continued to work their way into collections and ad campaigns even to the present day. Since Karl Lagerfeld took over the House of Chanel, he’s been incorporating Coco’s inspirations. For instance, his Spring-Summer 2010 collection featured golden wheat ears on belts, jewelry, and was embroidered on garments.
Whether you’re designing an outfit, a room or simply looking for inspiration, Coco Chanel certainly offers plenty of ideas through the time capsule that is her apartment. I suppose one lesson here is that our experiences and aspirations influence our surroundings, and our surroundings, in turn, inform our work. Whether you’re a diehard Chanel fan or not, strolling the haunts of this iconic lady is something that should definitely be on your to-do list when visiting Paris!
If you would like information on booking an Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Tour or Vintage Chanel Shopping Tour, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Antiques Diva®