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La Chanelphile

January 25, 2011

Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2011 Inspiration: Paintings of Marie Laurencin

WWD reported that Karl Lagerfeld was inspired by the paintings of Marie Laurencin, namely the portrait she did of Mademoiselle Chanel, for the Spring 2011 Haute Couture collection.  The portrait of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel hangs in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and they have an interesting anecdote posted on their site:

In 1923 Laurencin was working on the costumes and sets for Les Biches (The Does) performed by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Coco Chanel, who was creating costumes for the same company’s Le Train Bleu at the time, asked the artist to paint her portrait. Laurencin painted Chanel in a languid pose draped in blue and black with one shoulder bare. The fluid lines, subtly shifting colours and the sitter’s dreamy expression are typical of Laurencin’s work, but Chanel – designer of ‘the little black dress’ and the Chanel suit – turned the painting down, saying it did not look like her.

Marie Laurencin Portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel, 1923 Oil on canvas

Laurencin was part of the Cubist circle and was one of the few women who were part of the movement but also put her own spin on it. Her use of pastel colors and fluid curvey lines differentiated her from other Cubist painters. She painted mostly women and her style suited this subject perfectly. These are some other examples of Marie Laurencin’s work. You can see her use of pastels and how Karl was inspired by her pinks and greys and transformed these hints of color into an airy, light collection perfect for spring. Review of the collection to come shortly!

Marie Laurencin LA VIE AU CHATEAU Oil on Canvas 1925

Marie Laurencin Il Bacio 1927

Marie Laurencin Femme Au Chien

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