Thursday, 23 September 2010

In the bedroom with Coco







Have been hither and thither this week, but also managed to spend some time in my own bedroom with Mademoiselle Chanel. The pictures above are not, however, in my house -- you'll see from the little film that I've posted that I live within white walls -- but I was lucky enough to visit the London house that Chanel inhabited, during her love affair with the Duke of Westminster. Just look at the birds and the camellias on the wallpaper. They seemed to me to be a magical reminder of her presence -- one of those rare moments when the universe chimes, and the veil between the past and present becomes translucent.
Very much hoping to meet some of you at Waterstones Kensington High Street this evening. Please do come and say hello!

30 comments:

Tilda Drake esq. said...

Just read your fascinating article about your journey courtesy CC in the Mail online and consequently chanced upon this wonderful blog. Your dignity is inspirational.

kairu said...

That wallpaper is amazing.

I've been reading your book slowly, bit by bit, drawing it out like a box of chocolates or my tiny samples of perfume from CB I Hate Perfume (more on that another time). It's just beautiful, Justine.

Justine Picardie said...

Thank you, Tilda. I'm glad you've found the blog. And Kairu -- your little nudge just sent me here: http://www.cbihateperfume.com/
Very intriguing...

minniebeaniste said...

Sumptuous! But, like you, I love white walls.
Bon courage for this evening, and remember what Coco said: 'personne n'est jeune après quarante ans mais on peut être irrésistible à tout âge'!

Justine Picardie said...

Well said! Thank you...

oxford-reader said...

How fresh the colours are - almost as if she'd left only yesterday. Love the necklace you're wearing too!

oxford-reader said...

Sorry - also meant to say hope the Waterstones event goes well :-)

Penny said...

I'm in bed with a Gu Chocolate Pot and you're delicious book. I'm sure Coco Chanel would have disapproved of such hideous gluttony and slobbery but I'm thoroughly enjoying it! Thank you!

www.themilkzine.com

Justine Picardie said...

The necklace came from a second hand stall in Woodstock: Edwardian mother of pearl, and an absolute bargain (£15!).
And I definitely approve of little pots of Gu. Have just come back from Waterstones Kensington High Street, where the lovely audience included a brilliant baker and her friends, who gave me the two most delicious cup cakes I have ever eaten. I shared one with my younger son, and ate the other all by myself. One was sheer chocolate, the other carrot-y with a meringue-ish topping. Heavenly.
Here's the link: www.lovebakerylondon.com.

kairu said...

I love mother-of-pearl! That necklace looks fantastic.

My favorite CB I Hate Perfume is, of course, "A Room With a View."

Those cupcakes sound delightful...today I had a terrific slice of chocolate cake layered with chocolate moussed and glazed with ganache...along with tastes of various other delicious pastries filled with toasted almonds or pears or raspberries with raspberry curd or spinach and goat cheese.

jaywalker said...

Your book and its lovely bag arrived in the Antipodes today - probably about as far south as it will ever get - southern Tasmania! And fortuitously, I finished reading my current book last night, so can get into it straight away with a clear conscious.
I watched the video of you wearing Chanel's clothes with great envy - both for the clothes and your slim figure which allows you to look so good in them. Afraid I would never do them justice - one of the sad facts of my life that I have, despite all efforts, never been sylphlike!

jaywalker said...

Whoops - spelling: conscience. Suffering from mild brain strain today.

Lilacs In May said...

You are luminous Justine.
I have just read about Chanel buying a house in St Tropez from the 3rd husband of Colette, it's a tantalising trail I cannot wait to follow.

Young at Heart said...

oh my, truely stunning wallpaper and you look utterly delighted to be there........what joy!!

Justine Picardie said...

I'm so thrilled that Coco has reached Southern Tasmania! That message has made my day...
Will return to cupcakes and Colette in a later post -- just rushing to the local shops to buy some food for dinner.

Justine Picardie said...

PS. Lilac in May: am longing to hear more from you about Chanel buying a house in St Tropez from Colette's 3rd husband. I knew there was a St Tropez encounter between Chanel and Colette and Paul Iribe (which I've referred to in my book), and also that Colette's husband (not sure if he was 2nd or 3rd) had a past connection with Aubazine -- apparently his family had previously owned a house that was close to the convent where Chanel grew up. But didn't know about a St Tropez house... Longing to hear further details!

Philip said...

Very nice and I look forward to your book. Did you include any information on Coco's sister, Julia Antoinette, who by marriage became my Aunt Julia?

Lilacs In May said...
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Lilacs In May said...
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Lilacs In May said...

Not St Tropez, Sorry. I got confused as Colette was a move-aholic!

The husband was Maurice Goudeket, Colette's 3rd and final husband. Maurice had a pearl business, he financed his stock by borrowing. His business was sliding toward bankruptcy due to the depression. In a fit of reckless optimism he bought La Gerbiere (a modest villa with 2 stories, built on a hill) in Montfort-L'Amaury (located in the south-western suburbs of Paris) in 1929. Colette had been renting a villa nearby. One side of the La Gerbiere faced a valley with panoramic views of the landscape and the sky. The other side faced a rose garden, and a sloping lawn merging into a park of old trees. Colette loved the house. She finished the book that was to be a homage to her mother there, Sido.
Maurice sold La Gerbiere to Coco at the end of 1930. Naturally, she had grand plans for her new property and was impatient to implement them.

I finished the book yesterday (Secrets Of The Flesh, A Life Of Colette by Judith Thurman) I need to let it percolate before I start Chanel or I my brain will get in a fug of confusion and Colette and Coco will fuse forever in my brain. I am very much looking forward to starting on Chanel, it looks sumptuous.

Justine Picardie said...

Philip: Thanks for your message. Coco had two sisters: Julia Berthe and Antoinette, and I did write about them. Antoinette died in 1922, after she'd emigrated from France, and Julia Berthe died in 1910. Julia had one son, who was born in 1904. Which aunt are you related to by marriage? I'd love to know more!

Philip said...
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Philip said...
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Justine Picardie said...

I'd better add that to my reading list immediately. I saw Chanel's previous houses elsewhere, but not that one...

Philip said...

Justine: RE: Julia Antoinette Chanel Fleming:-
born 13 June 1887, i have a photocopy of the original certificate;
married Donald Edward Fleming in 11 November 1919 in the Town Hall of the 8th Arrondissment, Paris, i have a photocopy of the marriage certificate - witnesses were Arthur Capel and Baron Robert de Nexon;
death 2 May 1921 in Buenos Airies, i have a photocopy of the death certificate = died of "alcohol poisoning", witnesses L. Fontan and Arturo Billordo

Oscar Edward remarried in 1928 and had a daughter. He died in 1956.

ZazaMek said...

By complete chance - I came across your piece for H. Bazaar in last August's issue about "Second Time Love". I was taken by it, the writing style, the depth of emotions going through it. So I googled your name and discovered what an amazing woman you are! Your life story is an inspiration for me as the current times are hard and challenging.. Thank You for you and your beauty, in and out. Best wishes of continued succes...

Justine Picardie said...

Thanks so much for your comment. Hope you enjoy the book about Chanel -- she is as intriguing as she is inspirational.

lauriebessems said...

hey! well I just love Chanel!!!:) i'm a (knitwear) fashion student at nottingham trent university and I've always been very inspired by Gabrielle Chanel. its my dream to work for chanel! when i watched your video i felt emotional, i think its so special to meet someone who knew gabrielle! and it so special gabrielle Palasse- Labrunie showed you her anties closet!!!!! I'm now doing a lot of research about her life and who she has met and where she has been! because i want to(/woud love to) visit all there places! kind of like a pilgrimage/crusade for chanel!:)

lauriebessems said...
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lauriebessems said...

And i want to understand her designs. But do know of Karl Lagerfeld ever met gabrielle chanel?