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
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
January 25th, 2016
Everyone knows the Art Deco staircase lined with mirrors where Gabrielle Chanel sat, unseen, to observe the reactions of the audience as each of her collections was presented.
Like a symbolic backbone, this central axis links the Haute Couture salons on the first floor to the creator's apartment on the second.
As discreet as the salons are sumptuous, the apartment is not alone, there are other equally strategic places in the labyrinth of the House of Chanel, from Karl Lagerfeld’s studio to the Haute Couture ateliers.
At each different stage of a creation, and each time it is necessary to make an adjustment to a piece or to have a fitting, it is not unusual to see the heads of the ateliers emerge from the workshop, their arms full with their precious creations.
© Olivier Saillant
January 23rd, 2016
Member of the Resistance, journalist and author, Edmonde Charles‑Roux, who was born in 1920 and died a few days ago, was one of the pioneers of French women's magazines in the postwar period.
After participating in the creation of "Elle" magazine in 1946, this woman of character, commitment and talent climbed the publishing ladder of French "Vogue" before becoming the Chief Editor in 1954.
Her first published novel, "To forget Palermo" in 1966, was a resounding success, since the novel won the Prix Goncourt. This was the beginning of a brilliant literary career that led her to enter the Académie Goncourt in 1983 before chairing it from 2002 to 2014.
It is of course no coincidence that the novelist, in love with fashion, devoted two books to Gabrielle Chanel. Upon meeting in 1954, the two women immediately felt that they shared an independent spirit and strength of character that drove them to build the lives they chose for themselves. It is as if Edmonde had found in the fashion designer the self-confidence that she still lacked, the figure she had just outlined. The young reporter decided to adopt a Chanel suit and pearl necklace, an outfit she wore for years. "You have a style, that of the peasant women of Arles, do not move from that, do not cut your hair" Gabrielle still advised her.
In "Chanel and her world", a work of reference, she pays tribute to Coco’s creative genius, but in "L’Irrégulière" (The Misfit), she retraces the designer’s unique destiny: that of a woman in charge of a huge company that was a lightning rod for an entire period. And yet throughout her life, the designer had been a “misfit” by bourgeois conventions. Which in a sense Edmonde was a bit herself.
© Robert Doisneau/Rapho