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La Chanelphile

November 3, 2011

Culture Chanel Website & Beijing Exhibit

Culture Chanel WebsiteBack in January I posted about the Chanel Culture exhibit in Shanghai and the accompanying micro site.  On November 5 through December 13, the exhibit will be shown in Beijing, China at the National Art Museum of China.  You can see images from the exhibit in my previous post on the Chanel Culture exhibit.

Culture Chanel WebsiteIf you won’t be in China any time soon or haven’t had time to pick up one of the many new Coco Chanel biographies, the Chanel Culture micro site is a great place to visit.  The website is fully interactive with replicas of each of the subsections of the exhibit, has photos, audio and never -before-seen videos.  My favorite part of the site is a section for kids (or big kids) which features a Chanel memory game and a Chanel coloring book!  I’m definitely printing out the coloring book images to save for my Tiny Dancer when she is older.  You can view the micro site at http://culture.chanel.com/

Culture Chanel Website

Culture Chanel Website

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Culture,Chanel Media,Coco Chanel — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 4:12 pm

October 25, 2011

Assouline Chanel Special Edition with Tweed Chanel Slipcase

Assouline Chanel Books with Tweed Slipcase

In June I posted about a limited-edition set of Chanel books published by Assouline complete with a quilted leather Chanel slipcase.  Assouline is releasing another limited-edition set of Chanel books – in an edition of 30 – but this time the slipcase is a Chanel tweed.  The set with Chanel tweed slipcase will retail for $2,500 each and will be sold at Assouline boutiques and website, in addition to being included in the Neiman Marcus’ Christmas selection.  What a gorgeous addition to a Chanel book collection, no?  At that price though, I think I’d rather have a Boy bag or some jewelry.

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Fragrance,Chanel Jewelry,Chanel Media,Coco Chanel — Tags: — La Chanelphile @ 10:09 pm

I Told You So!

A few weeks ago I posted a Dior video that showed a pinball machine game animation and I likened it to Chanel’s “Here Comes the Beauty Pack” video that brought Chanel cosmetics to robotic life. I know it was a bit of a stretch but for me Dior’s video was reminiscent of Chanel’s video – especially when looked at in the context of all the other copying that has been happening.

One of La Chanelphile’s readers, Alexandre Fons, brought this Dior video to my attention.  The video was uploaded about a month ago and depicts a Dior cosmetics animation in the form of Tetris, Pacman and Super Mario Brothers.  Sorry, but there’s no arguing your way around this one Dior – so unoriginal! Thank you Alexandre for bringing this to my attention!

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Cosmetics,Chanel Media — Tags: , , , — La Chanelphile @ 9:43 pm

October 14, 2011

Dior Is Killing Me

I’ve been particularly grumpy this week. Not sure why, just in an irritable mood for no particular reason.  So please take this post with a grain of salt…but have you seen the new Dior video on Nowness?  The focal point is PEARLS.  Yes, pearls, the white round precious objects that are pretty much synonymous with Coco Chanel.  Not only that, but this video also seems like Dior’s answer to Peter Philips’ brilliant Here Comes the Beauty Pack

Back when Christian Dior came out Coco Chanel was irritated by him and now it appears, the legacy continues. Who knows, maybe it’s just me and my grumpy mood…what do you think? See for yourself…

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Media — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 11:35 pm

October 13, 2011

Chanel Links: Week of 10.10.11

So much news, so little time! I’ll keep it brief, let’s get to it…

chanel news in italianFinalmente, our Italian Chanelphiles can now read Chanel News in Italian. Chanel News

chanel ginza tokyoCNN highlighted “fashion architecture” in a piece on architecture as an extension of the brand experience and the Chanel Ginza store in Tokyo designed by Peter Marino + Associates Architects was considered a standout example.

Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen - Image Source Just Jared

According to the NY Times, Karl Lagerfeld photographed Elizabeth Olsen for a coffee table book.  No word about this project but here is what she said about working with Uncle Karl:  “The Chanel designer had been shooting her for a coffee table book, and the photo session had gone long. She modeled an oversize classic Chanel tweed jacket for him. “I didn’t get to keep it,” she said, laughing as she pointed to her own nondescript sweater and T-shirt.

karl lagerfeldKarl Lagerfeld can add “gallery booth designerto his resume – he’s designed Zurich’s Gmurzynska Gallery’s booth for the FIAC in Paris from October 20 to 23.  Hollywood Reporter

sofitel st james bar the balconLondon posh hotel Sofitel St. James renovated their brasserie and is unveiling The Balcon on October 17th.  The St. James bar in The Balcon is “inspired by the interiors of Coco Chanel’s 1920’s Paris apartment at 55 Rue Cambon and highlights will include vintage cocktails from antique recipe books. There will also be a Champagne Angel on hand to provide expert advice.”   Do you see the curved staircase and banister?  I’ll toast to that!  The Handbook

Here’s a Karlism for you – Karl Lagerfeld takes his time with the models he chooses to photograph. He stated: “I do a lot of portraits. I really take time to choose my models. I don’t think one should ever be a model guzzler.” ContactMusic

karl lagerfeld scarf
Just in time for winter, you can get a printed cashmere scarf with Karl Lagerfeld’s face on it. NY Mag – The Cut

Chanel ranked #15 on a British survey of the Top 20 “cool brands”. Huffington Post

Beau Dunn’s mom was a model and she has ridiculous vintage Chanel from the 80′s. I hate her. I’m not afraid to say it…

On a lighter note, check out the backstage behind-the-scenes of the recent Chanel Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear show…

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September 29, 2011

Luxury Online Sales Boosted by Fashion Bloggers & Social Media

Reuters has reported that new research indicates that fashion bloggers will help propel online sales to over $15 billion (€11 billion) by 2015.  Italian luxury foundation Altagamma stated in its “Digital Luxury Experience” report that online luxury sales only account for 2.6 percent of the market but is growing at a rate of 20%.  Moreover, “[b]logs and social media are setting trends more than fashion critics, with one out of two customers turning to Facebook or Twitter for advice before buying.”  I’ve always had a feeling about the power of social media but now we have some actual figures to note.

Luxury fashion brands, normally the brands setting the trends, have lagged behind when it comes to adopting social media.  It’s understandable.  Many of these brands are based around the idea of exclusivity and social media is quite the opposite of that.  How can a brand be everywhere and exclusive at the same time?

It’s not impossible.  Brands like Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Tiffany and Gucci have a strong online presence – you can purchase online and interact with these brands on Facebook and Twitter.  Being “available” online has not hurt the brands, rather, it gives their customers more convenient ways of shopping – what’s more luxurious than not having to get off your couch to order a $5000 handbag?

I would also suggest that being available online also opens the doors to new generations of customers – customers that are practically born with smart phones in their hands.  Many luxury brands have a very loyal following – why not start appealing to customers when they are young?  Many loyal brand customers start out as aspirational shoppers.  Perhaps she can’t afford the 2.55 but she purchases Le Vernis or sunglasses or earrings.  If you can appeal to that customer when she is young – and get her attention online (where other brands are getting her attention) you may have a loyal customer for life.  In a year she may be buying shoes or saving up for a 2.55 or a tweed jacket.  My point is, if luxury brands are making the move online, then the brands that don’t make the move are going to be left behind.

Chanel has done a nice job with their online presence.  They’ve been a bit slow to act, but when they do, their online presence is well executed.  Chanel Beauté is sold online and Chanel has introduced Chanel News (it’s own blog) Makeup Confidential (a beauty website), a Youtube page and a Facebook page.  Chanel is not on Twitter and I am patiently waiting for the day that I can click the “follow” link.  I just hope they do it soon because the younger set is increasingly far removed from knowing about the history of the brand.  With other brands copying the signature looks of the Chanel brand, if the copycat brands make themselves more available to younger consumers, Chanel may miss out on breeding a new generation of Chanelphiles.

**UPDATE 9.30.11**

-Two readers from Europe pointed out that the Chanel e-commerce is available only in the U.S.

-Chanel has also released an iPhone app in addition to all the other social media listed above.

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Culture,Chanel Media — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 3:28 pm

September 27, 2011

Chanel Book Reviews Coming Soon!

Before I went to New York for Fashion Week, I received a bunch of Chanel books.  Just a quick note that I’ll be getting the reviews up shortly.  Working on one right now – hopefully it will be up tomorrow! Back to reading and writing!

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Filed under: Chanel Media,Coco Chanel — Tags: , — La Chanelphile @ 2:10 pm

September 22, 2011

Lunch with Coco Chanel Biographer Justine Picardie

Chanel Her Life Justine PicardieOn Tuesday, I had the honor of attending a Luncheon held in honor of Justine Picardie, the author of Chanel – Her Life.  Tucked away in the private upstairs room of La Grenouille, “the last great French restaurant in New York”, the intimate setting and amidst gorgeous floral displays, it was the perfect place to spend an afternoon celebrating the life of Coco Chanel.

I read Picardie’s first edition of Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life while on vacation this summer and it is by far my favorite Chanel biography.  In fact, Karl Lagerfeld himself loved the biography so much that he created illustrations and redesigned the layout of the book, including the font, for the second edition published by Lagerfeld’s long-time publisher Steidl.  I’m so glad I had already read the book because the new edition – Chanel – Her Life – is so beautiful I would hate to cause any wear-and-tear to the edition.  Having read the book only a month ago, much of it was fresh in my mind.  But, to hear the author herself discuss the experience brought a whole new level of understanding.

Amy Larocca and Justine Picardie

Growing Up With Chanel

Though Justine Picardie started the process of writing Chanel – Her Life in 1998, her fascination with Chanel started as a little girl.  Her mother kept Chanel N°5 on her dressing table and that was her mom’s signature scent.  Though Picardie couldn’t read yet, the typeface of the Chanel N°5 bottle was so distinctive, she knew that is contents were “precious” and the bottle was off-limits to Justine and her sister.  It seems Picardie’s mother was a Chanelphile herself and for her wedding she wore a little black dress – not a Chanel original but made from a Vogue Chanel pattern.  Continuing in the rebellious spirit of her mother, Justine Picardie wore her mother’s wedding dress during her punk phase to see The Clash and The Sex Pistols (so cool on so many levels!).

Gabrielle Chanel, Convent Life and Chanel Iconography

I’ve often read of Gabrielle Chanel’s mysterious childhood growing up in the convent at Aubazine – mysterious because of the many versions of her childhood that Chanel recounted often replacing nuns with “severe aunts in black.”  Justine Picardie is the only writer that was granted access to stay at the convent.  The process of gaining access was a long one, but when one of Picardie’s letters reached the abbey on the Saint Justine’s Saint’s Day, the nuns saw it as a sign and allowed Justine Picardie to stay at the convent on the condition that she follow their routine.  And so she woke at dawn, prayed, ate very little, prayed some more and sang.  Not only was she able to walk the same halls that young Gabrielle Chanel had, but she got to experience what Coco Chanel had experienced.

In many ways, growing up at Aubazine was probably the biggest influence on Coco Chanel’s designs.  From the stark black and white of the nuns’ habits, star patterns in the mosaic floor of Aubazine Abbey, iron crosses and patterns in the stained glass that are eerily similar to the interlocking C’s – all of this imagery plays a large part in modern Chanel iconography and provides the foundation for the house that Chanel built.  In fact, she sent the architect of La Pausa to the Aubazine Abbey to replicate the staircase for the foyer of La Pausa.

Coco Chanel’s Activities During WWII

We’ve all read the vicious rumors circulating online about Coco Chanel prompted by Hal Vaughan’s Sleeping With the Enemy (review coming shortly but you can hear Justine Picardie and Hal Vaughan debate the topic in the mean time).   Picardie would never speak ill of another writer’s work; she read the same sources that Hal Vaughan read and she came to very different conclusions.  For Ms. Picardie, the situation was a “much more complicated story.”

Time has not been kind to Coco Chanel and her wartime activities.  She closed her house because she thought that war was “no time for fashion.”  Though it was seen as patriotic to stay in business, the French designers that did continue throughout the war only ended up designing for the wives and mistresses of Nazi officers – not very patriotic.  Indeed, perhaps not selling to the Nazis was more patriotic, non?  For example, Cartier designed a piece for Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propoganda, but you don’t see people exploiting that fact – or calling Cartier a Nazi.  Picasso sold paintings to Nazi’s and even had some Nazi’s visit his studio.  In fact, any French person who was not part of the resistance in some way or another had contact with Germans.  Whether you were a barber, baker or banker – if you were in occupied France you had to work with Germans.

It’s sad, but Coco Chanel may be the victim of sexism – a “convenient scapegoat”.  She was a strong, financially independent business woman – something very rare back then (and still scary to some today).  Her relationship with a half-English half-German low-level spy was complicated – as were all of her relationships with men.  The lowest act she committed was trying to get control of Chanel Fragrances – a company whose name she shared but only shared in 10% of its profits – through the use of anti-Jewish laws.  Not respectable at all, though there is much more to the story (read the book for information on all wartime activities).

The 1954 Comeback

Coco Chanel re-opened her house in 1954 to awful French review – the kind that would make anyone else quit.  That Coco Chanel continued is a “measure of her strength”.  Her reason for returning to Fashion?  Dior.  In 1947 he popularized the “New Look” and managed to bring back corsets, virtually un-doing Chanel’s life’s work.  She had done so much to liberate women and she wanted to free them from the tyranny of the corset one more time.  (It appears the rivalry between Dior and Chanel is not a new one).

The Luncheon

The afternoon started with champagne and hors d’oeuvres followed by a sumptuous meal – the kind that I could see Coco Chanel herself enjoying amidst the company of her artist friends.  As we dined, Justine Picardie recounted stories of her stay at The Ritz in the suite that Coco Chanel died in (not the pre-WWII Coco Chanel Suite).  It seems Mlle. Chanel may have paid Ms. Picardie a visit the night of her stay.  Over a hushed table, Justine Picardie told us how after turning in for the night and shutting the lights one of the bulbs shot out of the wall sconce, lights flickered and lights turned on without her help. The luncheon ended with Ms. Picardie signing my copy of Chanel – Her Life and I received a box of Chanel N°19 Poudré compliments of Chanel.

Coco Chanel – Living in Black and White

If I took away one thing from reading Chanel – Her Life and hearing Justine Picardie speak – it would be that Coco Chanel is shrouded in mystery because she was a woman of contrasts.  From the diametrically opposed staircases in her life – the dark, austere Aubazine Abbey to the glimmering, mirrored staircase at 31 Rue Cambon, to her at-once loving yet litigious relationship with her business partner of sorts Pierre Wertheimer, Chanel was a complicated woman.  She hid the darkest parts of her past like the shame of growing up in poverty and from that she created light – beautiful creations that look as modern now as they did seventy-years ago.  And from the mystery of her life, the contrast of darkness and light, the simplicity of the signature black and white Chanel branding make all the sense in the world.

Chanel – Her Life is available now in bookstores and online.

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August 26, 2011

Book Review: Chanel by Jean Leymarie

chanel by jean leymarieIf 2009 was the year of Chanel films, then 2011 is the year of Chanel books.  Originally published in 1987, Jean Leymarie, a French art historian, wrote Eternal Chanel, a work that elevated Coco Chanel’s place in history from fashion designer to artist.  The work was out of print for some time but earlier this year, the work was re-printed with a cover redesigned by Philippe Apeloig.

I recently purchased Chanel by Jean Leymarie and it now holds a dear place in my Chanel library.  Part art book, part biography, Chanel is unlike other books on Coco Chanel because of it’s approach.  Rather than detail her life story, Leymarie set out “to provide a general overview of Chanel’s creative history and evolution within the context of the artistic world of her time.”  (Chanel, Jean Leymarie, p.7).  The book starts off with a brief history of fashion beginning in Ancient Egypt to modern day.  Then the book reviews art movements and key moments in Chanel’s career.

Chanel by Jean Leymarie is a lovely book because you can see Chanel’s work alongside popular art movements of the time.  Providing a context to see Chanel’s work, you are transported through time to a different era.  Chanel has many photos I have not seen published in other books, as well as old favorites.  I am so happy I bought this book and I know it will be a book that I refer to often.  You can purchase Chanel by Jean Leymarie on Amazon.com.

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Media,Coco Chanel — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 5:54 am

August 24, 2011

31 Rue Cambon: Chanel Magazine Fall-Winter 2011

31 rue cambon chanel magazine fall winter 2011So many goodies in the mail lately!  Last week I received a copy of Chanel’s Magazine 31 Rue Cambon.  Like anything they produce, the Fall-Winter 2011 issue of 31 Rue Cambon is exquisitely crafted.  The magazine gives an inside glimpse to the collections and has gorgeous close up photos of the Fall-Winter 2011 Haute Couture collection.  The issue also includes sketches by Karl Lagerfeld and articles on the new J12 Titanium watch, shoe atelier Massaro, Fall-Winter 2011 Ready-toWear collection, the Mademoiselle bag, Les Exclusifs de Chanel and other cosmetics, among other highlights from the season.  I love flipping through the pages and seeing all of the Chanel eye candy page after page.  I’m definitely adding 31 Rue Cambon to my Chanel library.

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Media — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 5:44 am
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