Room Diaries: Gabrielle Chanel’s Apartment Is Legitimate Goals
It's beyond beautiful and full of interior design sleight of hand. See highlights from our visit to the famous apartment on 31 rue Cambon.| August 21, 2017
A visit to Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment on 31 rue Cambon is one of those bucket list things. After all, it was where she, the legendary figure that she is, worked, rested and hosted. Why wouldn’t you want to walk the path that she walked countless of times across her years? Lounge on the famous couch that she was often photographed with? She never lived there officially, though. The Ritz Paris, just several minutes away from her beloved atelier, was her real home. Still, her apartment on 31 rue Cambon was a prized jewel, a place created with creative, careful consideration, imbued with her being in every nook and cranny. We may have even detected a hint of cigarette smoke in the air. Could be just us.
Chinese coromandel screens, wheat, lions, frogs, books, quilting, tarot cards and more lions and wheat – it’s not difficult to figure out Mademoiselle Chanel’s decorating theme. She was devoted to her personal emblems, whether it was the lion for strength, wheat for prosperity, or simply the pairing of black and gold. Even the custom chandelier hid her favourite numbers. If you feel inspired to pick a personal emblem after seeing all her golden lions lying around the apartment, you’re not alone.
Though she didn’t sleep there – naps excluded – Chanel was invested in making the place as welcoming as possible. A pair of statues welcome you as you enter the living room. A reflective table top is deliberately placed by the window to reflect incoming sunlight, creating warmth and the illusion of space. The fabric of the dining room door blending seamlessly with the fabric walls, because it was her belief that if her guests couldn’t see the door, they’d forget that they had to leave. It’s all very romantic and sweet. And yes, our hands may or may not have lingered on the dining chairs that once hosted many a famous derriere including Elizabeth Taylor. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have coromandel screens and rococo tables to look for.
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