Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Year of Chanel?

2009 has been in many fragrant ways so far a marked year for Chanel, due to their 100th anniversary: what with the new Chanel No.5 campaign which prompted us into an images retrospective, the new Cristalle Eau Verte and the wider distribution of Les Exclusifs Beige online. But it's shaping up to also be a heavily charged optical year for them as well!

The famous photographer Douglas Kirkland was commissioned in summer 1962 by Look Magazine to follow and photograph Gabrielle Chanel for a story on her. Initially sceptical, later enthusiastic, Chanel posed for a series of classic photos that are now shown in a rare exhibition between May 9 to June 6 (Mon-Sun 11am-7pm) on the third floor/ VIP Salon of the Honolulu Chanel Boutique in Hawaii (2116 Kalakaua Avenue), curated by James Cavello of Westwood Gallery, NYC. The choice isn't random: The Honolulu boutique, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, was the first Chanel boutique to open on American soil. The special occasion will be marked by an exclusive preview display of the Paris-Moscou collection and the creation of a limited edition J12 white watch with blue sapphires. 10%of the proceeds from photo purchases will be donated to the Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation. So if you happen to be on Hawaii in the course of the month, you know what to do.

For those ~like me~ who appreciate the artistry of a good arts coffee-table book in all its glossy paper glory, a new issue is celebrating Coco Chanel, the myth, as well: Called Mademoiselle Coco Chanel Summer 62, it is written by Karl Lagerfeld and featuring the photos of Douglas Kirkland taken in the summer of 1962, as decribed above. Soon widely available. You can pre-order through Amazon!

Additionally, Chéri, the novel by Colette (written in 1920) recently filmed starring Michelle Pfeifer and Rupert Friend, has been one of Karl Lagerfeld's much prized books. Thus it formed the inspiration behind the photography behind the 2009 Spring Summer Accesories Catalogue for Chanel. The novel describes the love affair between an older former courtesan, Léa de Lonval, and her younger lover, Fred Peloux (affectionately called "chéri", ie.sweetheart) to whom she passes all her experience only to be disillusioned when he ultimately abandons her to marry the very young daughter of one of his mother's friends. The two lovers are incarnated in the campaign by Jerry Hall and Baptiste Giabiconi, shot by Karl Lagerfeld. The social mores of La Belle Epoque, known to Mademoiselle Chanel herself, are beautifully illustrated, none the less so in these exclusive images for Chanel.

And a funny interlap for the grand finale: The face of the upcoming Guerlain feminine fragrance, Idylle, singer and actress Nora Arnezeder, has been photographed by Karl Lagerfeld himself for the May issue of American Elle magazine in a story called "Karl's Diary", from where this dreamy black & white photo.

Related reading on Perfumeshrine: Two biopics on Coco Chanel, Interrupted by Death: The Lost Chanel, Chanel Les Exclusifs


  1. Anonymous17:34

    We will see...;)
    I just read that all these exclusive brands focus on China from now, their huge market simply beats everything.
    But we need beautiful scents too!:)
    Have a nice day, Helg!

  2. Hi there, thanks for commenting!There is certainly truth in what you say, my dear, I agree with you. I also think the Australasian market is so hungry for luxury (being deprived for so long) that everything bearing a posh European brand is automatically considered "desirable". It's probably not very ethical to exploit that but business is business, eh?
    Have a great day too! :-)

  3. Anonymous17:56

    I am impatiently awaiting my copy of "Cheri" in the mail. I had no idea it was a Lagerfeld favourite; now I wish to read it that much more. It looks like the year of Chanel and "Cheri" (both get a movie and a slick ad campaign). I must say however, that Jerry Hall seems like a far better embodiment of the seasoned courtesan than Michelle Pfeifer (all I can think of is Michelle as the helpless, heartbroken Mme de Tourvel in Dangerous Liaisons).

    Thank you for a great and thorough post, E.


  4. Natalia,

    indeed it does!! You should definitely get it if only to see how scandalous were regarded some things which are now considered innocent (like an affair with a younger man or a difference in social class). The male hero is fun to hear described in very sensual terms in relation to how he treats himself.

    In the end the seasoned courtesan is heartbroken, which somehow reminds me of Mme de Tourvel too, so I guess this is what the producers were reminded of? Just a guess, though, don't take it to heart!

    Anyway, hope you enjoy the book and am also looking forward to the film.


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