Today was an adventure, a treasure hunt of sorts. Sugar and I were looking for Coco Chanel. Not just designer clothes and bags but to retrace her steps, to glimpse her essence. A day in the life of, or a day in our imaginations of what her life might have been like. I had explained to Sugar that in the same way she admires Elsa from Frozen for her magical powers and beautiful gowns, I too admired Coco Chanel for her strength and true original style. That to me she was an artist and a visionary and as a young girl starting out in the world of fashion I had been captivated by her story and legend. Clearly this fascination has not faded over time as I’m hoping Frozen will for Sugar but I wanted to share with my daughter a story of an artist who had played a role in shaping the dreams of a young woman and perhaps what she could do.
Photographer Sam Elsom | Creative Direction Styling Sheree Commerford
Sugar searches for Coco wearing Ralph Lauren suede jacket, tights and tutu from Mamapapa, Isabel Marant sneakers from Zara with french vintage blouse and hat. Mum wears Celine tuxedo pants and loafers with Stella McCartney bodysuit, Sass & Bide blazer, Chanel bag and vintage boater hat.
First Stop/31 Rue Cambon
First stop was the legendary three-stair building on 31 Rue Cambon where Coco herself worked from the second floor now frozen in time and only open to certain press and very rich people. We figured if she wasn’t there then Karl…….
, as in Karl Lagerfeld, would certainly be home working on the third floor in his studio. When we didn’t get a response from throwing stones at his window we resigned ourselves to the fact he wasn’t in. Determined to not feel dejected so early on in the game I decided we needed some cheering up and what not a better way then to head to the boutique on the ground floor. Here Sugar got a small and hopefully forgettable taste of luxury brand shopping when a small crowd of very elegantly women classically dressed in black and white Chanel fussed about oohing and aaaahhing in the most beautiful french way. While she was being showered with perfume and gardenia’s I picked up the tab for her very precious and carefully chosen PINK nail varnish. A one time treat only in Paris.
Second stop/The Ritz
Knowing that every evening Coco would leave her apartment and walk five minutes across Rue Cambon to the Place Vendome and enter the Ritz through the rear door to her private suite we thought we would try and catch her there. Maybe she was tired and sleeping in. What we found was very confusing. The Ritz was closed for an entire year while it was undergoing renovations. WHERE COULD SHE BE? Lucky we were distracted by a very big blue door and a window full of sparkling diamonds directly opposite her suite. We had accidentally discovered Chanel Joaillerie, the fine jewellery workshop on Place Vendome.
By this stage we were incredibly hungry and decided to see if Coco was having breakfast at her favourite haunt Angelina’s. Like a kindred spirit Sugar ordered Mademoiselle C’s famous breakfast without even knowing. Angelina’s hot chocolate and Mont Blanc.
Stay tuned tomorrow to see what happens when hunting for Coco Chanel.