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La Chanelphile

December 7, 2010

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie


I read every book I can get my hands on about Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel – well at least the ones in English. When I heard a while back that there was a new biography in the works, Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie, I couldn’t wait to learn more about the mysteries surrounding one of the most influential women of the 20th Century.

Justine Picardie spent years researching and writing this biography on Mademoiselle Chanel.  From notes in the Chanel and Churchill archives, to interviews with Chanel’s last surviving friends, Picardie paints a picture that brings the true Coco to light in a way never seen before.

From her humble beginnings in an Orphanage, to her romance with the Duke of Westminster, Picardie delves deep into the mysteries behind the infamous designer.  She also investigates Chanel’s controversial romance during WWII and digs deep into top-secret intelligence and military archives.  Studying the iconography of the brand, Picardie also recounts how key events in Chanel’s life infuenced her collections and designs.

Thoroughly researched, Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life is an excellent read on Coco Chanel’s life.  Not just a great biography, Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life is full of accompanying photographs – some of which I have never seen before.  One of my favorite parts of the book are the embossed illustrations of Coco Chanel on the front and back covers done Karl Lagerfeld himself.

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life is available for sale on Amazon.com and makes a wonderful gift for any Chanelphile.  It’s definitely now one of my favorites among my collection of Chanel books.

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December 6, 2010

Chanel Spring 2011 Makeup Collection: Les Perles de Chanel

When I think of Chanel, a few things immediately come to mind: black/white, camelias, the quilted 2.55 handbag, and of course – pearls – lots of them.  Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel believed the light-reflecting property of pearls enhanced a woman’s natural beauty by bringing a delicate luminosity to her skin.  For Spring 2011, Peter Philips was inspired by Coco Chanel’s love of pearls and so he created Les Perles de Chanel.

We got a preview of the makeup collection during the Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear show but now we have a full look at all the products.  I especially love Le Vernis Black Pearl, the Glossimer in Aragonite, the Shimmering Grey eyeliner and the eyeshadows.  Les Perles de Chanel will be available in department stores, Chanel boutiques and on Chanel.com in January 2011.


Images: Chanel

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October 27, 2010

“Chanel Culture” Exhibit at Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art

The Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting Chanel Culture, “an exhibition charting the iconic fashion house’s literary and artistic inspirations.”  (WWD, 10.26.10)  Running from January 15, 2011 – March 14, 2011, the exhibit will showcase over 400 items “including clothing, artworks, manuscripts and films.”  The collection will be curated by Jean-Louis Froment, a French art director and critic and will be done with the consent and support of Chanel.  The exhibit will cover Gabrielle Chanel’s life and her relationships with avant garde artists of her time including Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso and Igor Stravinsky through the Karl Lagerfeld tenure.

No word on whether this exhibition will travel but I really hope it will.  As a history buff and Chanelphile, this exhibition is right up my alley!

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September 15, 2010

Art Imitates Life: Chanel’s Soho Graffiti

Earlier this year in January 2010, the Chanel Soho boutique was tagged with pink spray paint.  Last week, the Chanel Soho boutique re-opened on Fashion’s Night Out.  As part of the festivities, and to avoid cluttering the newly designed shop, two temporary tents were erected at the corner of Wooster & Spring streets.  Inside the tents, Chanelphiles were greeted by a digital interactive graffiti where guests were invited to “tag” with Chanel spray cans.

There has been no official word on what inspired the digital graffiti but my hunch is that Uncle Karl took some inspiration from the real vandalism that occurred at the Soho boutique and elevated it to a whole new level.    It’s not the first time that Karl has taken Coco Chanel’s infamous quote to heart and looked to the “streets” for inspiration:

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

-Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

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September 1, 2010

Chanel Soho Story Collection

For me, SoHo is a place where Bohemian ideals meet the toughness of the city… I love the tension and energy this creates.

-Peter Philips

To commemorate the re-opening of the Chanel Soho Boutique, and just in time for New York Fashion Week, Peter Philips created the Soho Story Collection features feminine pinks juxtaposed with industrial metallics.  The collection includes a palette inspired by pop art with the letters SOHO stamped in the powder.  One swipe of all 4 shades gives you a healthy, natural glow.  From nails to lips, the Soho Story Collection covers all bases.  Peter Philips explained,

I had a specific girl in mind who is both hard and soft. A girl who discovers a new city, a new life.” adds Peter Philips. “This is a very special kind of New York woman.  She is innocent, but she has a steely determination that fuels the city.

The full collection consists of: Soho de Chanel ($65.00), Quadra Eye Shadow in Stupendous, ($56.00), Rouge Coco in Stunning, ($30.00), Rouge Allure Laque in Stunt, ($32.00), Glossimer in Star, ($27.00), Le Vernis in Steel, ($23.00), Le Vernis in Strong, ($23.00).  Chanel’s Soho Story collection will be available on chanel.com on September 7th and September 10th at the SoHo Boutique (Fashion’s Night Out).

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August 19, 2010

Joyeux Anniversaire Mademoiselle!

“Fashion passes, style remains.”

Happy Birthday Mademoiselle Chanel!  Your memory and style endure.  We miss you!

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July 14, 2010

Peter Philips on the Fall/Winter 2010-2011 Haute Couture Red Lip

chanel fall/winter 2010-2011 haute couture beauty
The Chanel Fall/Winter 2010 Haute Couture show featured very simple makeup with a striking red lip. This is the look Coco Chanel herself preferred so it should come as no surprise that it showed on on the runway. Also, Chanel recently released its Rouge Coco line of lipsticks in their attempt to “bring lipstick back” and what better way than to feature it on the runway? See the Global Creative Director for Chanel talk about what inspired the faces on the runway…

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April 15, 2010

“The Allure of Chanel” by Paul Morand with Illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld

"The Allure of Chanel" by Paul Morand with Illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld

It’s with what cannot be taught that one succeeds. – Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur”Coco” Chanel is a mysterious figure whose past is fraught with ambiguity.  As my favorite designer, and icon for female empowerment, I’ve done my fair share of reading on Mademoiselle Chanel.  When I heard Paul Morand’s The Allure of Chanel was being reissued with illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld, I immediately had to get my hands on a copy.

Morand’s The Allure of Chanel stands apart from other books on Gabrielle Chanel’s life because the text is in Chanel’s own words.  Mlle. Chanel invited Paul Morand to visit her in St. Moritz so that he could write her memoirs.  Morand took many notes on his conversations with Coco on everything from hard work, beauty, wealth, aging and solitude.  After the interviews, the notes were stashed away, only to be discovered after Mlle. Chanel’s death.  Thirty years after the interviews, Paul Morand published The Allure of Chanel.

I read The Allure of Chanel from cover to cover in a matter of hours.  Maybe it’s because I’m infatuated with the subject matter, or maybe it was because it will be the closest to hearing her speak in her own words, but I was hooked from the moment I started reading.  It’s very rare that you can get a glimpse into the mind of a haute couture and fashion branding pioneer and Paul Morand gives us the opportunity.  The illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld at the beginning of each chapter only enhance the experience.  If you have any interest at all in Chanel, I highly recommend this book.  The Allure of Chanel is available now online.

"The Allure of Chanel" by Paul Morand with Illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld

*I received a copy of The Allure of Chanel from the publisher.

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Filed under: Chanel — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 3:16 pm

March 17, 2010

Coco Chanel Virtual Paper Doll on StarDoll.com

Coco Chanel Virtual Paper Doll on StarDoll.com

Did you ever think you’d get the chance to dress the legendary Coco Chanel?  Me neither.  But now you can!  Stardoll.com is a site geared toward young girls (or those young at heart) who have an interest in fashion.  Girls can either make their own virtual paper dolls or dress the likes of Lady Gaga, Cleopatra or Naomi Campbell.  One of the role models available to dress is none other than Mlle. Chanel.  Here are some of the looks I came up with… I want everything in the virtual closet!

Coco Chanel Virtual Paper Doll on StarDoll.com

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Filed under: Chanel Culture — Tags: , , , , , — La Chanelphile @ 12:19 pm

February 9, 2010

VogueTV: Peter Philips in 80 Days

VogueTV: Peter Philips in 80 Days

VogueTV: Peter Philips in 80 Days

Peter Philips, the artistic director of Chanel Beauty has made quite a splash since he joined the Chanel team in 2008.  In his short time there he’s already created cult classics like Gold Fiction, Jade and Particulière.  Now you can watch the master make-up artist at work behind the scenes at runway shows, in his studio, during beauty shoots and in business meetings.

I especially love these videos because you get rare glimpses into fittings (which still take place in Mademoiselle’s salon), details of some of the accessories, the Lesage embroidery studio, and even the archives where you catch sight of original Chanel beauty products and Coco’s very first little black dress. View the videos from VogueTV below…

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