Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Paris Apartment Of CoCo Chanel

With my love for all things French and of course beautiful interiors, it only makes sense that eventually there would be a post about the Paris apartment of fashion icon Coco Chanel. Usually fashion designers have wonderful decorating sense and Coco Chanel's Paris apartment reflects this. This is certainly not the first blog to show some interior pictures, but I believe you will enjoy this home tour and collection of interesting facts about the lady herself!

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Probably the most famous address in all fashion, 31 rue Cambon, the House of Chanel.

Gabrielle "CoCo" Bonheur Chanel

Enter the front doors of 31 rue Cambon at the street level. There are four floors. The haute couture dressing rooms are on the second floor, her apartment is on the third, and her workshop is on the fourth. 

Here is a photo of the famous faceted mirrored spiral staircase that Chanel designed. The stairway is still covered with cream carpet, while the walls are lined with panels of mirrors. It connected all four levels of her apartment and made it possible for her to stand in one spot and see what was happening on every floor. It is the same staircase that Coco would hide on so she could see  the audience’s reaction to her collection during the show. It is also where her models presented her collections in the past.

Here you would have found your hostess, waiting with an invitation that few people ever received. It was a treat indeed to be received as a guest at her apartment. Whenever she went to her apartment on rue Cambon, there were orders to spray Chanel No. 5 around the stairway so her signature scent would greet her.

The Chinese screen used as wallpaper in the entrance hall features camellia flowers, which were Chanel’s favorites and often used in her designs. The camellia flower was also very important to Coco Chanel. It symbolized purity and longevity in Asia and was very prevalent in her designs. 

Although Coco Chanel was a long-term resident at the Ritz, she used an apartment at 31, rue Cambon in Paris for entertaining. Chanel’s apartment seems to reflects her tastes for all things luxurious and opulent. Quite different from her fashion creations which were generally simpler and reflected an uncomplicated elegance. 

The salon of Coco Chanel's Paris apartment. Every crevice and corner seems to ooze luxury from the the ever-present camellia flower to the gilt, the black lacquered surfaces, and the Coco-designed, suede sofa. 

Her rouge-infused, Orient inspired home continues to be a staple in our Parisian dreams. 

Decorated in deep reds, rich golds, and Oriental themes, the elaborately decorated apartment is filled with expensive antiques. 

She is said to have hated doors and obscured  them with Chinese screens. Coco Chanel was famous for owning over 32 Coromandel screens that decorated her 31 rue Cambon apartment in Paris. In some areas she applied them to the walls like wallpaper. "I've loved Chinese screens since I was eighteen years old..... I nearly fainted with joy when, entering a Chinese shop I saw a Coromandel for the first time. Screens were the first thing I bought," she said.

The monochromatic chandelier complete with interlocking 5's and C's. She was told by a fortune teller than her lucky number was 5.

Some of her prized possessions.

Her mahogany desk, which is etched with the scratch marks of an icon. 

This little bird cage was a prized possession and the inspiration for the Chanel No. 5 commercial featuring Johnny Depp' s lovely ex, Vanessa Paradis.

The chaise where the famous picture of CoCo Chanel was taken.

The iconic photo.

Scattered about the apartment are the lucky symbols of a deeply superstitious woman such as a frog with its mouth open, pairs of Japanese deer and wheat motifs (a sign of prosperity). 

Chanel lived here until her death in 1971, and everything has been frozen in time.

The roof of the building is said to have some of the best views of Paris.

Coco Chanel was a Leo and collected lions because they were her horoscope symbol.

The dining room. On the table are some of the many lions that are scattered around the apartment.

It's all very opulent, sophisticated and elegant, and yet the apartment isn't a large or grand space. In fact it seems intimate.  If you were to visit the apartment you would notice that  an important room is missing. She didn't actually sleep here. There is no bedroom in the flat.

Instead, she kept a private suite at the Ritz across the street. Every evening Coco Chanel followed the same pattern. She left her apartment and walked five minutes across rue Cambon where she entered the Ritz through the rear door to retire for the night.

Each morning, she crossed back to No. 31 where she got back to work...... surrounded in a mist of expensive perfume.

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