At Home With: Coco Chanel
September 29, 2011Posted by on
The magic of Fashion Week has descended upon Paris and the world is all a-flutter with anticipation. What new visual confections have designers dreamed up? What will be this season’s “new black”? What clothing will be most appropriate to keep us from being nudists in the Spring? And in the midst of all that excitement, most would agree, the iconic presence of Coco Chanel is still at the center of it all.
But after a long day of fashion shows and champagne toasts, what would Chanel do? Quite likely, she would retire to her luxe, third-floor apartment at 31 Rue Cambon, frozen in time since her death in 1971 and still a gorgeous example of her impeccable taste.
Coco Chanel was an avid collector of elaborate Coromandel Screens – she was rumored to have owned 32 of them! – and used them throughout her apartment. The folding screens, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, were likely created in China during the Kangxi Period (1661-1722) and shipped to Europe in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. At only 18 years old, Chanel fell in love with the gorgeously crafted screens, enamored by the layers of lacquer, gold paint, and jewel/porcelain insets. It’s a love affair that clearly continued throughout her life.
The apartment is brilliantly balanced, offsetting the solid, Chinese screens with light, airy furnishings that seem to float just above the floor. The woman who famously advised “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take off one accessory” also practiced restraint in her decoration. While luxurious, her apartment is never overdone, which only elevates its elegance.
Photos courtesy of InteriorHolic