September 22nd, 2016
"Clearly, Chanel had a sense for the visual impact of white, enjoying the contrast it provided with the bronzed skin that she had made so fashionable since her earlier holidays on the Riviera. "A very white earring on the lobe of a well-tanned ear delights me" she remarked to Paul Morand, and then described to him how she had watched a group of American girls swimming in the sea at the Venice Lido. "How much more beautiful these young women would be … if they had dipped their pearls into the waves, into the sea from which they first came ; and how brightly their jewellery would glitter if worn on a skin bronzed by the sun…"
Excerpt from "Chanel Her Life" by Justine Picardie, Steidl, 2011.
© V.H. Grandpierre / Vogue Paris
September 16th, 2016
The exhibition "The Woman Who Reads" is taking place in Venice at the Ca’ Pesaro, International Gallery of Modern Art, from September 17, 2016 to January 8, 2017.
The seventh edition of Culture Chanel presents the creative universe of Gabrielle Chanel through the prism of her relationship with reading, writing and poetry. From the ancient Greeks to the modern poets, from Plato to Cocteau, Chanel’s well-stocked library reveals the books and writers that inspired her work. Throughout her life, these tomes fueled her imagination, shaping her personality and teaching her how to achieve a form of permanence in her own vision of the world.
Some 350 pieces will go on display in Venice, reflecting, much like a library, the aesthetic language of Mademoiselle Chanel. The exhibition brings together writings as well as dedications, archival material, photographs, paintings, drawings and art pieces from her Paris apartment.
Conceived and designed by Jean‑Louis Froment, who has curated the event since 2007, Culture Chanel defines itself as a "collection of exhibitions" relating, through various themes, the history of Gabrielle Chanel and of her House.
September 17, 2016 – January 8, 2017
Santa Croce, 2076
© Douglas Kirkland
August 23rd, 2016
"One could get away with more on the summer Riviera, and whatever happened seemed to have something to do with art," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in Echoes of the Jazz Age; an observation that would equally well have been applied to Chanel’s life at La Pausa; indeed, to the villa itself."
Excerpt from "Chanel her life" by Justine Picardie, Steidl, 2011.
The villa La Pausa, located between Menton and Monaco, was Gabrielle Chanel's summer home.
© Photo Roger Schall - Collection Schall
August 19th, 2016
The lastest of the perfumes created and worn by Gabrielle Chanel, the N°19 echoes her date of birth, 19 August 1883.
For the designer, numbers always possessed a particular power, which she associated with circumstances surrounding events in her life. Like symbols, lucky charms and objects collected and brought back from trips, numbers were part of her creative process.
August 11th, 2016
Gabrielle Chanel vacationing on the Basque coast, 1924
© Collection Zina de Rosnay
August 3rd, 2016
Mademoiselle... This is how Gabrielle Chanel was addressed throughout her life. It was an unconventional choice, but one that conveyed her sense of freedom and modernity. Mademoiselle had love stories yet never married. She clung to her maiden name, flouting conventions of her time. She was, and remains, Mademoiselle Chanel, mistress of her own life, writing her own legend through the years.
With this “Mademoiselle”, Gabrielle could turn her story around; the orphaned girl from a poor background became a demoiselle, a “young lady.” This mark of respect extended to the door of her studio, which carried a sign saying “Mademoiselle Privé”.
June 3rd, 2016
Associated with the sun, the lion symbolizes power, nobility and gold. It is the 5th sign of the zodiac - Gabrielle Chanel's lucky number and constellation.
She collected effigies of this tutelary figure and used it as a motif in suit buttons, belts, brooches and necklaces.
March 29th, 2016
The exhibition "A Working Eye", the first retrospective of Kollar's complete body of work in France, showcases a panorama of his art with over 130 shots taken in Europe and Africa from the 1930s to the 1960s. The Hungarian-born photographer was one of France's great twentieth-century masters of industrial reportage.
François Kollar started out in advertising photography, spending many years working with magazines such as "Harper's Bazaar", where he published over two hundred fashion shots and portraits in the years before 1946. Photographing models, advertising for main houses and leading figures in the world of fashion, including Gabrielle Chanel, led him to experiment with a range of modern techniques and try out highly original compositions, playing with backlighting, double exposure, superimposition, and solarisation, or reflections in a mirror, as in this instance with a model on the rue Cambon staircase.
The exhibition follows the photographer's career chronologically, starting with the earlier experimental works and moving on to his advertising and fashion work. His reportage photography on the changing world of work in the 1930s is at the heart of the retrospective, which closes with his industrial series shot in French West Africa and France in the 1950s and 1960s.
Jeu de Paume
1, Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris
February 9th to May 22d, 2016
François Kollar on the stairs of Chanel, 1937 / exhibition view, Alice Sidoli © Jeu de Paume, 2016
February 4th, 2016
"Chanel's originality was the opposite of mine," declared Dalí. "I have always shamelessly exhibited my thoughts, while she neither conceals hers nor shows them off, but instead dresses them up… She has the best-dressed body and soul on Earth."
In 1929, following his Cubist phase, Dalí goes to Paris and begins interacting with artists such as Miró and Picasso and members of the Surrealist movement. He is also introduced into high society where he meets Gabrielle Chanel.
He asks her to collaborate on the decor of the ballet "Bacchanale". She, in turn, inspires him to create clothes and even perfumes and jewelry.
Chanel was fond of Dalí who baptized her "my little capsigragne". In 1938 he moved in La Pausa, where he produced the work "Endless Enigma".
© Philippe Halsman/Magnum Photos - Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2016 - "The Essence of Dalí"
January 25th, 2016
Haute Couture is quintessentially Parisian. It was born in the quarter around the rue de la Paix where Charles‑Frédéric Worth founded his dressmaking salon in 1858. By transforming the couturier from a "supplier" into a "creator" he was the first to present his clients with actual collections on living models in luxurious salons.
At that time, Paris already had a reputation as the world's capital of elegance and was bursting with small businesses dedicated to the art of couture (embroiderers, feather workers, button, shoe and glove makers and milliners…).
Although Gabrielle Chanel opened her first Maison de Couture in Biarritz in 1915, she moved to rue Cambon in Paris, in 1918. By the end of the 1920’s, the address had expanded to include N°s 23, 25, 27, 29 and 31. The legendary 31, rue Cambon is now solely dedicated to Haute Couture. All of the collections and orders for Haute Couture are without exception created in this historical building.
© Anne Combaz