Tag Archives: 31 Rue Cambon

31 Rue Cambon

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

Fashion lovers and Francophiles unite!!!

During a trip to Paris, I had the rare opportunity to tour 31 Rue Cambon and the private apartment of Coco Chanel.  This experience was one that I’ll never forget.  I shared it with my cousin; and now, I am going to share it with you.

1952

Just standing outside of the building at this famous address is enough to excite any fashionista.  We arrived early enough to take a couple of deep breaths, calm our nerves, and prepare to savor this incredible moment.

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In the lobby, we waited for our guide next to a console with a picture of Coco hanging above it.  It was almost as if we were checking in with Chanel before entering her domain.  It reminded me of how I felt on my wedding day:  I was excited and overwhelmed, yet determined to focus, so that I would not forget any details.  So, I whispered a quick prayer for calmness and clarity, then braced myself for all sorts of fabulousness…

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The Haute Couture salon is absolutely STUNNING in black and white!  This is where approximately 200 clients worldwide are shown exquisite pieces from Chanel’s Haute Couture collection, and have them made to order.  I could have luxuriated on the couch for a while; but there was so much more to see.

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The mirrored staircase (designed by Chanel herself) is truly spectacular, and I was more than happy to make the climb.  This is where Coco debuted her collections.  I’m told that there is a clever way to take a picture of the staircase where a heart shape is formed behind the subject.  I now have an excuse to return…

1915

The fifth step from her apartment is where Coco Chanel sat and watched her shows, spied on her guests, and observed people’s reactions to her collections.  Retracing her “steps” was such a rush, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

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Upon entering Coco’s apartment, guests are greeted by a pair of blackamoors.  Chanel referred to them as her “friends.”  Life-sized and impressive, they really make a statement in the entry.

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Coco’s use of Asian screens as wall treatments, her eclectic mix of furnishings, and one-of-a-kind pieces made especially for her by friends (i.e. Salvador Dali), lends a world traveler vibe to the place.  Love that!  As we sank into the silk-covered chair in the entry, we were convinced that we each *need* one in our lives.

1919

Chanel did her own thing, both in fashion and in home decor.  She had her famous over-sized suede sofa custom-made for the salon, which was considered radical back in her day.  Numerous celebrities,  politicians, and royalty have been entertained in this room.  I felt honored and quite comfortable.

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This gorgeous custom-made chandelier was hanging over my head, while seated on the sofa.  Adorned with amethyst crystals, CC’s, and 5’s (Coco’s lucky number), it had me completely mesmerized.  *Sigh*…

1927

Fresh camellias, Coco’s favorite flower, are placed on this table daily.  Although this is routine for the staff at 31 Rue Cambon, as a visitor it seems as though they are making preparations for Chanel’s return.  The bouquet was so beautiful and inviting, that I felt inspired to place fresh flowers in my home on a weekly basis.

1925

Coco Chanel’s apartment has amazing statuary throughout the space.  There are so many stories behind the items and their placement, and the vignettes are captivating.  I would love to have just one of her fabulous pieces!

171Notice anything unusual?  The apartment does not have a bedroom.  Coco used this space for work and entertaining, then left to sleep in her suite at The Ritz.  In lieu of a bedroom, there is a lovely sitting room.  I had no problem finding a seat and basking in the ambiance.  Once again, Coco made use of screens as wall treatments:  beautiful, meaningful, and functional, just like the pieces in Chanel’s collections.

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Guess who’s coming to dinner?  I pulled up a chair at the dining table, topped with gold dishes and lions (Coco was a Leo).  But with the gorgeous chandelier, Italian mirrors, statuary, and screens, there was so much to take in.  Who could eat with all of that eye candy?!?!?  I can see where Chanel’s current designers draw their inspiration for each season’s collections.

During our visit, Karl Lagerfeld was working diligently in his 4th floor studio to prepare for the Chanel fashion show during Paris Fashion Week.  We had hoped to meet him personally; however, it was not meant to be.  Still, we could feel the creative energy flowing.  Next time…

As we descended the cream-carpeted stairs, said our thank-yous and goodbyes, and left the building, we couldn’t help but feel a little sad that our time had come to an end.  Once we were outside, it hit us…DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN???

It’s good to be back on the blog.

Bonne Semaine!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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