Occasionally, words fail us—and attempting to describe Coco Chanel’s apartment is understandably one of those occasions. Putting words to the experience of climbing those iconic marble steps where Gabrielle (that’s Coco to you) once sat, taking in the house of Chanel’s first shows, only to find ourselves inside her former home, where so many of the signatures that launched a thousand (or couple million) wishlists were first born? It’s a task that’s monumental, to say the least.
With that in mind, you can imagine how it was nothing short of surreal to find ourselves at the 31 Rue Cambon, lounging in all of the same spots Coco did with the likes of Giacometti, Stravinsky and Dali some 80 years ago. The space abounds with signature Chanel—from the camelia fleur, the glossy, lacquered black surfaces, to the dramatic suede furniture. Of course, adhering to house codes is maybe the most intimidating part of undertaking a creative director job at any iconic fashion brand—and believe us when we say that anyone working under Coco’s frame of reference has ample material to play with. From the incredibly ornate gold accessories, to the lush, cognac-hues and touches of vibrant scarlet red to the gold Venetian lions that felt almost inescapable; the motifs that have made up countless recent collections (including yesterday’s couture show) suddenly clicked.
Throughout the entire tour, we managed to restrain ourselves—even if her wall-to-wall bookshelves were ripe for strands of Chanel pearls and hanging Boy bags. And from her mahogany desk, etched with infinite scratch and pen marks, to the hand-assembled Chinese screens that border the space, the apartment has been immaculately preserved—almost as if she never really left. And if her legacy is any indication, she hasn’t.