Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Couture in a cold climate...







Just back from Paris, where the lights of the Chanel atelier at Rue Cambon burned brightly, even at midnight after a triumphant couture show. There were ghosts and feathers in the Dior collection, fluttering within a vast marquee on the lawns of the Rodin museum; and Galliano's palette of pinks and reds reminded me of the frozen flowers in the winter gardens of Bowood (as well as the more obvious reference, a salute to Rene Gruau, the drawer of Dior).
Paris was alluring, as always -- more evidence, as if I needed it, of how attached I remain to Mademoiselle Chanel (whose apartment I visited again, yesterday, its atmosphere subtly different in daylight, and filled with voices of the living, rather than the dead) -- but home is comforting, especially as I am snuffling and sneezing. Time for bed, at last, beneath my faded rose-pink eiderdown...

15 comments:

enid said...

You are so lucky to travel so much. I do love Paris and enjoy just walking the streets and having a good flaner.I hope the sniffles go away and that your time under the duvet is well spent with a good book !

Justine Picardie said...

I'm incredibly lucky, I know, for which I count my blessings (though have emerged from beneath duvet with hacking cough; viruses being the downside of trains and planes...).

Knitting Out Loud said...

The clothes look lovely!
Feel better soon (lots of hot liquids, they say).

Megan said...

I am also very envious of your trips abroad, though not of your virus which I had myself over Christmas.
This morning (not feeling very 'workish') I watched the film Coco Avant Chanel and thought that it was brilliant. Do you have any opinions on it, seeing as it is in a sense bringing the first part of your book to life? Audrey Tatou is fast becoming my new favourite person (beautiful and elegant in every single film), though I also really liked the portrayal of Boy Capel.

kairu said...

I love your dispatches from Paris! (And from stately country homes and gardens, the past preserved, if not entirely, for future generations...). The Paris couture for me is as distant and unattainable as the moon, but it is lovely to get a glimpse of it now and then.

Hope you are feeling better soon! Lots of tea, hot lemon and honey, and sleeping all tucked into the duvet like a burrito.

Justine Picardie said...

Thanks for messages. I am wheezing and coughing in a very unglamorous way; attempting to keep to schedule, but slowly grinding to a halt.
As for Coco Avant Chanel: there is much I like about it -- Audrey Tautou looks uncannily like the young Chanel -- though inevitably, I can't help but notice the historical inaccuracies (which don't invalidate the film, but do distract me, in a nerdy way). The landscapes and costumes are gorgeous, and I think the portrayal of Etienne Balsan is excellent. A huge part of Chanel's story remains untold in the film -- the tragedy and romance of her affair with Boy Capel is a chapter in the far longer narrative of her life -- but it would take half a dozen films to chronicle what happened next...
Oh dear, not sure if I'm making any sense, through fug of cold...

jaywalker said...

We are planning a few days in Paris in July as part of our annual trek to the UK from Oz but unfortunately won't be in any couture houses. However, I'll try to at least walk down Rue Cambon and look up at the apartment. My OH will probably be in Shakespeare's book shop. Get well soon!

jaywalker said...

PS Came across all these youtube bits while googling the location of Rue Cambon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpinr4Uts-8

Megan said...

I did notice a few small things that I knew from your book were wrong, which does detract a little bit and must do even more so when you've also written the story. However, I found the love story between Chanel and Boy so sad that I'm not sure I could have seen it played out over several films... There was a TV adaptation of Wuthering Heights on recently (ish) that I actually couldn't watch because it was so inaccurate - poor Emily Bronte must have been spinning!

Justine Picardie said...

Wuthering Heights is always turned into something other than itself -- the original is so dark, so much harsher than the adaptations.

emily said...

So enthralled by Paris. You are indeed lucky. Just finished reading your wonderful book after getting it as a christmas pressie - I am now suitably obsessed with Chanel also.
Get well soon.

Justine Picardie said...

Thanks! For Jaywalker -- and anyone else in search of Chanel's Paris -- after you've walked along Rue Cambon, go to Angelina's on Rue de Rivoli for delicious hot chocolate; not sure whether Coco drank cocoa there, but it was her tea-room of choice...

jaywalker said...

Justine - thanks for that advice, I have put it in my travel folder and will definitely go there. We had a snack in a cafe in the Rue de Rivoli when we there three years ago and walked round the Place Vendome to see where Diana left the Ritz. I didn't realise how close we were to Rue Cambon.

Justine Picardie said...

The side entrance of the Ritz -- by the Hemingway bar -- opens on to Rue Cambon, and that was the door that Chanel used every day. I'd definitely recommend a drink at the Ritz -- go to the bar/restaurant on your left, just past the main entrance from Place Vendome. You'll see tout le monde. Also, have a look at the Chanel boutique on Rue Cambon, because as you go in, you'll see the spiral staircase on your right that goes up to the couture salon, and from there to Mademoiselle's apartment.

jaywalker said...

Thanks - will do!