Dear Diva Readers,
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Here 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 to:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Antiques Diva®
to 10px; WIDTH: 229px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 305px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sva9JXRokjI/AAAAAAAADww/0C2PFKPLlxs/s400/Maureen.jpg” border=”0″ />The brains and beauty behind Inglenook Décor, choreographing the charmingly eclectic inventory, is the darling Maureen. A physical therapist in private practice, Maureen dreams of “traveling the world à la Samantha Brown, checking out the world of design & decor”. She confesses impishly that she “longs to be an interior designer to entertain her creative side….” And speaking of entertaining a creative side, that is exactly what she does for me with both her online shop and her blog!
to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sva9Jobb3II/AAAAAAAADw4/lyrOW5ghb4Y/s400/odi+et+amo+ingelnook+decor.jpg” border=”0″ />Oh, did I forget to mention – not only does Maureen run an online boutique (with a store website chocked full of useful decorating nuggets of wisdom) but she also writes a blog called Ingle Talk to boot. The design blog Odi et Amo posted a sensational interview with Maureen earlier this year, where Maureen explained among other things the origin of the company name and shed some light on where she finds the treasures for her online store!
Maureen writes, “Inglenooks are built-in alcoves centered on a fireplace where friends and families gather. It’s like the center of an old-fashioned cottage. Just like what this built-in alcove represents, I believe homes should provide warmth and should be a place of refuge from the outside world and a reflection of our own personal style and taste.”
to 10px; WIDTH: 235px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 363px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sva9JFIkzmI/AAAAAAAADwg/Cc_ni5u1i88/s400/ingelnookdecor.jpg” border=”0″ />To find inventory, Maureen started subscribing to trade magazines and checking importers from her home country – the Philippines – as well as going to several markets in the US. And Maureen explains, “Of course, (I go) antique and flea market shopping. This can be tricky, you have to separate the trash from real great finds. A little self-serving but some of it, I kept for me…. As for my archetypal customer? Highly independent, confident and creative individuals that thrive on making all of their choices definitely unique and their own. I picture them as sophisticated men and women who totally agree with one of Coco Chanel’s famous quotes: ‘An interior is the natural projection of one’s soul.’ A little frivolous for these times perhaps, but they realize that a beautiful surrounding inspires.”
Thank You Maureen for being an Inspiration – You, my dear, are The Diva of the Day!
The Inglenook Décor
The Antiques Diva™
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>With all this HermèsTalk in last week’s blog, I couldn’t help but add my 2 cents — although, as we are discussing luxury goods, perhaps I should add a bit of inflation to cover the cost of my ponderings. My personal policy is to never buy new when I can buy vintage. Thus, last weekend in Paris when I was looking for a “new” red scarf, I found myself inside Les 3 Marches de Catherine B – a chic shop in St German des Pres specialising in vintage Hermès & Chanel.
Whether you want a Birkin or a to-buy-an-AUTHENTIC-Hermes-Birkin-or-Kelly-Bag_W0QQugidZ10000000000110367″ target=”_blank”>Kelly, a Coco-suitable suit, gloves straight off Mademoiselle herself or silver champagne cocktail stirring sticks marked with a classic Hermès “H”, these 2 tiny stores located right next door to one another are the place to find exactly what you’re looking for.
While it’s certainly more fun to go to Paris and shop in person, armchair travellers can now become armchair shoppers. Internet shopping with worldwide shipping is available so you won’t have to wait until your next Parisian trip to peruse the French finery at Les 3 Marche de Catherine B. And if you’ve a Chanel or Hermès accessory lingering unworn in your own wardrobe, you can also talk to Catherine B about selling your own high-end inventory. Unlike most sales-room policies, “Les Marche” pays cold hard cash to private clients and vendors – giving her an edge on capturing the best vintage inventory around the globe.
Les Trois Marche de Catherine B
1 & 3 Rue Guisarde
Open Monday to Saturday 10am – 7:30pm
From my address book to yours…
The Antiques Diva™