La Chanelphile

June 29, 2012

Flash Back Friday: The Legend of the Chanel Logo’s Double C

catherine de medici hair pin chanel

Catherine de Medici's Hairpin with Interlocking Cs found in 2012

Chanel’s iconic interlocking Cs logo is one of the most widely-recognized logos in the world. However, much like Coco Chanel’s life story, much of the origin of the interlocking Cs is shrouded in mystery. A few weeks ago a hairpin belonging to Catherine de Medici, Queen of France in the 16th century, was found at Fontainebleau Palace, a royal residence outside of Paris.  A momentous find, the hairpin was the first possession of the Renaissance queen found in modern history.  But what makes this find most curious of all is the very familiar looking interlocking Cs.

To fully understand the roots of the interlocking Cs we must take a look into the history of France as well as the formative years of Coco Chanel’s life.

queen claude of france catherine de medici coco chanel

The "C" Ladies: Queen Claude of France, Catherine de Medici and Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

Queen Claude of France

Queen Claude of France is the first person recognized to use the interlocking Cs as her insignia.  The interlocking Cs are found at the Château Royal de Blois, where “the symbol was carved in white in the apartments of France’s Queen Claude, who found in the inital “C” an inspiring personal motto: candidior candidis – the fairest of the fair.”  (The Secret of Chanel Nº5, Tilar J. Mazzeo, p.107)  We get a clearer picture of Queen Claude’s personal apartments  in Catherine de Medici, where the authors state: “the apartments of Queen Claude of France…in which may still be seen, delicately carved, the double C accompanied by figures, purely white, of swans and lilies signifying / candidior candidis / – more white than the whitest – the motto of the queen whose name began, like that of Catherine [de Medici] with a C…” (Catherine ‘de Medici, Honoré de Balzac and Katharine Prescott Wormeley, p.54)

 Catherine de Medici

Queen Claude of France was Catherine de Medici’s mother-in-law – Catherine de Medici joined the French royals upon her marriage to Claude’s second son Henri II.  Having an initial C, like Queen Claude before her, Catherine de Medici adopted the symbol as her own.

Royal insignia of the initials of Henri II and Catherine de Medici can be found at Chenonceau

Royal insignia of the initials of Henri II and Catherine de Medici can be found at Chenonceau. Photo from Historical-Fiction.com

It seems Catherine de Medici and Coco Chanel shared not only the “C” initial but also a penchant for jewels.  Queen Catherine loved lavish jewels but most of her collection was sold, lost or stolen over hundreds of years.  Similarly, Mademoiselle Chanel loved jewelry – both real and fake – and like Queen Catherine, many of her signature pieces were stolen in the hours shortly after her death.  To find a piece of Catherine de Medici’s jewelry now is a significant find, and may help unlock some of the mysteries of the Chanel logo.

As a side note, this is not the only similarity between Catherine de Medici and Coco Chanel – both women loved fragrance as well.  In fact, one of the many rumors surrounding the creation of Chanel Nº5 is that the formula is derived from “the lost ‘miraculous perfume’ of the Medici queens, an elixir said to preserve aging beauties from the ravages of time.”  (The Secret of Chanel Nº5, Tilar J. Mazzeo, p.31)

Château Crémat

Stained Glass window at Chateau de Cremat Chanel Logo

Stained Glass window at Chateau de Cremat, Image from TwentyFourSevenInFrance.com

Another legend says that Coco Chanel saw the interlocking Cs at Château Crémat, a château in Nice that Irène Bretz, and American heiress purchased.  Coco Chanel was friends with Ms. Bretz and attended parties she hosted at Château Crémat and “one summer night Coco Chanel looked up at a vaulted arch at one of  Irène’s famous parties and found inspiration in a Renaissance medallion: two interlocking Cs.” (The Secret of Chanel Nº5, Tilar J. Mazzeo, p.107)

Doorknob from Chateau de Cremat in Nice Chanel Logo

Doorknob from Chateau de Cremat in Nice, Image from DecadesInc.blogspot.com

Chapel at Aubazine

The explanation that Chanel (the modern company) and biographer Justine Picardie subscribe to is that the answer can be found at the Chapel of Aubazine, a Cistercian monastery and abbey that also housed an orphanage where Chanel spent the latter half of her childhood.

chapel aubazine stained glass window coco chanel

Windows from the chapel of Aubazine, Photo from Culture.Chanel.com

Picardie explains:

A few shafts of light pierce the shadows through the opaque grey and pearl-white windows; there is no figurative stained glass in this Cistercian abbey, but the panes form geometric patterns, knots and loops that look eerily like the double C of Chanel’s logo.

(Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life, Justine Picardie, p. 28).

Capel & Chanel

Justine Picardie also alludes to another meaning behind the double C – Boy Capel and Coco Chanel.  Boy Capel was the love of Coco Chanel’s life and Chanel as we know it today may not even exist without Boy Capel.  In addition to being her lover, Boy Capel was in some ways a founding business partner of Chanel.  He funded her business and her first boutiques and Coco Chanel eventually paid him back his investment.

Coco Chanel and Boy Capel

Coco Chanel and Boy Capel, Image scanned from Coco Chanel by Justine Picardie, p.60

After Boy Capel’s untimely death, interlocking the Cs of Capel and Chanel was a way of keeping them together.  Picardie states:

There was no business contract to bind them together, just as there was no marriage certificate, but it nonetheless joined them, as the double C logo seems to suggest; Chanel and Capel; overlapping, but also facing away from each other.

(Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life, Justine Picardie, p. 74-5).

The Double C Lives On

We will never know where Coco Chanel found inspiration for the Double C Chanel logo.  It could have been from long lost loves, royal families, her sad childhood, or a combination of them.   What we do know is that the symbol is as mysterious as the woman who made it infamous.

chanel logo

Washington Post
Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life by Justine Picardie
The Secret of Chanel Nº5, Tilar J. Mazzeo (review coming soon!)
Culture Chanel

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Culture,Coco Chanel — Tags: , , , — La Chanelphile @ 12:39 pm

Emma Stone Wears Chanel for LA “Spider-Man” Premiere

emma stone chanel los angeles spider man premiere

Emma Stone looked stunning in Chanel for the Los Angeles premiere of The Amazing Spider-Man. She wore a white short dress with burgundy flowers, look 68 from the Cruise Versailles collection. I have to admit, when I saw this on the runway I thought it would be hard to pull off with the subtle pannier widening the hips but Emma Stone not only pulls it off but makes it look gorgeous. I think she even looks better than the runway model – I’m especially loving the shoes she paired the dress with. Starlets take note, if you’re going to wear Chanel on the red carpet, this is how to do it.

emma stone chanel spider man la premiere

Emma Stone’s makeup was done by Chanel celebrity makeup artist Rachel Goodwin – see below how to get Emma’s look:

emma stone chanel spider man la premiere

Images of Emma Stone: Just Jared
Image of Chanel Runway: Style

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel on the Red Carpet,Chanel Ready To Wear — Tags: , — La Chanelphile @ 9:20 am

Word on the Street: News from the MISS Network 06.29.12


It was a busy week at MISS and I’m just trying to get through it because the sooner the week is over, the sooner my vacation starts! Here’s the best news this week from the MISS Omni Media network…

Lil’ Miss
GIRL Skateboard and Sanrio teamed up for another series of skateboards – GIRL Skateboards x Sanrio

Sheryl Sandberg, COO and Board Member of Facebook waxes poetic on women in the workforce – Why So Few Women Leaders? Sheryl Sandberg on TED Talks

Did you know that science is a girl thing? – My Two Cents: Science, It’s A Girl Thing!

Learn where to find fragrance samples for less than $10 – Beauty Baller on a Budget: How to Score Pricey Scents For Less Than $10

Get Eva Simons’ look from the Renegade video, listen to the remix of M.I.A.’s Bad Girls featuring Missy Elliot and Rye Rye, and see the new Lana Del Rey National Anthem video

Learn how to do a converse inspired manicure – Nails Did: X-Girl x Converse Chuck Taylor Hi

See what I wore to dinner one night – it involved lots of Chanel accessories! Mirror, Mirror: Birthday Dinner Date Night

Bijules opens her own Bijulesterie and House of Holland teams up with Superga sneakers

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Filed under: Chanel — La Chanelphile @ 4:29 am

June 28, 2012

Chanel Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2012/13 Invitation

Here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come next Tuesday (07.03.12) at the Chanel Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2012/13. Called the New Vintage and with Coco Chanel on the invitation, I can only expect that Karl Lagerfeld will be re-visiting old classics. He always does an amazing job of giving Coco Chanel’s classics a modern spin so I’m wondering how this will be different. I can’t wait to see!
chanel haute couture fall winter 2012 2013 invitation

**Please note, I will be out of town next week for the holiday so there may be a few days delay in getting coverage of the show up.

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Haute Couture — Tags: , — La Chanelphile @ 2:46 pm

Paper Passion by Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, and Wallpaper*

Paper Passion by Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, Karl Lagerfeld and Steidl

“The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.”
Karl Lagerfeld

Back in April 2011, I mentioned that there were rumors online about Karl Lagerfeld working on a fragrance that smelled like books – that were refuted as soon as they came out. Well, with time the truth has come to light. While Karl Lagerfeld did not create the scent, he did have a hand in Paper Passion.

Paper Passion by Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, Karl Lagerfeld and Steidl

Paper Passion is a fragrance by Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, and Wallpaper* magazine, with packaging by Karl Lagerfeld and Steidl.  As stated on the Steidl website:

This tells the story of a passion and a twisting plot to put the particular bouquet of freshly printed books in a bottle. Gerhard Steidl was first alerted to the importance of the smell of a book by Karl Lagerfeld, prompting a passion for paper and the composition of a scent on the pages of a book. To Wallpaper* magazine the pairing of the publisher with the perfumer seemed a natural partnership and so the idea for Paper Passion was born. Wallpaper* Magazine commissioned master perfumer Geza Schoen to create a fragrance based on the smell of books to be part of the Wallpaper* magazine Handmade exhibition in Milan.

I can’t wait to get a whiff of Paper Passion – I know what  new book smells like but I’m curious to see how that translates into a fragrance.  I especially love the packaging!  It reminds me of something James Bond would have in his library.  I just pre-ordered my “copy” of Paper Passion.  Paper Passion is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.

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Filed under: Karl Lagerfeld — Tags: — La Chanelphile @ 4:19 am

June 27, 2012

Lisa Eldridge on the CHANEL Summer 2012 Makeup Collection

Lisa Eldridge shows how to wear the Chanel Summer 2012 makeup collection. She makes it look so easy! Every time I watch one of her videos I get inspired to try a new look. I hope you get inspired too!

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Cosmetics — Tags: — La Chanelphile @ 4:50 am

June 26, 2012

Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura – Holiday 2012

shu uemera karl lagerfeldFor Holiday 2012, Karl Lagerfeld is teaming up with Shu Uemura to create a capsule collection called Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura.  Lagerfeld has long been a fan of Shu Uemura as he uses the pressed eye shadows to hand-color his infamous illustrations.

shu uemura karl lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld stated:

I love sketching in the morning…When I go to sleep I always put my pens and papers next to my bed. I use Shu Uemura shadows to sketch, since they are such fantastic colours. I design with Shu Uemura make-up because other manufacturers do not offer such beautiful colors. (Pursuitist)

shu uemura karl lagerfeld

Lagerfeld will select colors and packaging and he’s already shot the campaign and will reflect his “iconic, ironic style.” (WWD)  The line will release in November but will make it’s preview to the trade in September.  You can expect to find the Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura collection at over 400 Shu Uemura locations world wide.

shu uemura karl lagerfeld

Sources: WWD and Pursuitist

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Filed under: Karl Lagerfeld — Tags: — La Chanelphile @ 4:06 am

Blake Lively Jumps From Chanel to Gucci

blake lively karl lagerfeld chanel

Blake Lively, the face of the Chanel Mademoiselle bag collection last year was hand-picked by Frida Giannini to be the face of the Gucci Première fragrance – named for the Gucci couture line started in 2010.  The interweb is abuzz with this and I thought I would share my two scents (ha! pun intended).

Beautiful as she is, I never really considered Blake Lively a “Chanel” girl and I think she’d be a better fit for Gucci.  I think the problem is that it seems too soon.  Many models and celebrities lend their faces to different products – I just think the timing is not so great here.  In the end, I think Chanel wins in this scenario because it opens up the bag line to be represented by another beautiful face. I just hope Blake didn’t ruin it for the rest of the American ladies.  What do you think about all this?

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Filed under: Chanel — Tags: , — La Chanelphile @ 3:38 am

June 25, 2012

Chanel Little Black Jacket Editorial in Elle US June 2012 Issue

chanel little black jacket editorial elle us june 2012

Have you seen the June 2012 issue of Elle US? I’m always a little bit behind on reading my magazine but this weekend I decided to delve into my pile. I was happy to see that Elle did an editorial celebrating Chanel’s little black jacket to commemorate The Little Black Jacket exhibition and book. Elle took Chanel’s little black jacket and gave it six very different looks pairing the jacket with current pieces and vintage Chanel. The six different looks are – in order of appearance: Street Wise, Classic, Menswear, Sporty, New Romantic and Haute Rebel. My favorites are definitely the first three – sorry I can’t choose one! Which is your favorite look?

chanel little black jacket editorial elle us june 2012

chanel little black jacket editorial elle us june 2012

chanel little black jacket editorial elle us june 2012

chanel little black jacket editorial elle us june 2012

chanel little black jacket editorial elle us june 2012

Photographed by Thomas Whiteside
Styled by Lester Garcia

Image Source

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Culture,Chanel Ready To Wear,Vintage Chanel — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 10:45 am

CHANEL The Little Black Jacket Exhibit in Hong Kong, Teaser

After making stops in Tokyo, New York and Taipei, Chanel has taken The Little Black Jacket exhibition of photographs styled by Carine Roitfeld and photographed by Karl Lagerfeld to Hong Kong.  View the teaser video below…

“Auntie’s Harp” by Flying Lotus

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Culture — Tags: , — La Chanelphile @ 9:06 am
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