While I was in London last month, I visited Second floor, Saatchi Gallery’s exhibition of Sam Taylor-Johnson’s photographs of the flat of Coco Chanel at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris. Coco Chanel never actually slept in this flat – she spent her days here, while her sleeping quarters were at the Ritz.
Truth be told, I expected the exhibition to contain shots of each of the rooms in the flat, a la very exquisit reportage from an interior magazine. But no, there were mostly detail shots of various objects in Chanel’s flat, printed on this gorgeously thick, textured paper with rough edges. The photographs, with their moody lighting, seemed intimate and exclusive, which made me feel very majestic. It was as if I was having an illegal sneak peak at Coco’s personal possessions and she could be back any minute.
In an interview for The Telegraph, Sam Taylor-Wood explains how she was reluctant to do the job, as she has specialised in portraiture and didn’t think she would enjoy shooting inanimate objects. She surprised herself by loving the work, however, as the flat was so intimate — the shoot turned into a portrait of Chanel through photographs of her prized possesions.
Included in the exhibit was also a film in which Coco Chanel, at a mature age, was interview about her work and what she considered style. She was a very opinionated and self-secure woman, and many of her abrubt answers made me laugh out loud. She seemed like the kind of eccentric that you can nothing but love!
A small selection of the prints could be purchased at the small sum of £6.000,-. Sadly, the exhibition was only open until October 4th, but I am sure it will be on show in another gallery soon. Also, the photographs were originally taken to accompany Justine Picardie’s Chanel biography, Coco Chanel: The legend and the life, so you can always buy the book.
If you want to know more about Coco Chanel, read this article by Sabrina of AfterDRK, who visited 32 Rue Cambon herself at the Chanel show earlier this month. Lucky girl.
Click on each image to enlarge them.