Over the holiday season I had some time to recuperate and rest but being me, was soon bored and dying to get back to work again! So what did I do? I started clearing out the photo library on my computer, trying to bring a system to the chaos and the multitude of random photos collected over my career! Whilst looking and sorting, I started reminiscing about all the places that I have had the fortune to to visit, then I found this series of photos!
Years ago, before the invention and convenience of camera phones, I went to Paris with a magazine from Asia to shoot the archive couture collection from one of the most celebrated and famous of Parisian designers. I was young but already a fan and was so excited! What the magazine didn't tell me was that we were going to be shooting on location in her apartment! Enough of the suspense, I am talking of no other than Madame Coco Chanel and the location was none other than in her actual apartment above the boutique at 31 Rue Cambon, Paris!
I will emphasise that I took a stupidly crazy number of photos being the cliched Asian tourist but I curse computers and technology for letting a virus destroy all my pictures! I thought I had lost everything but was so happy to find these few pictures lurking somewhere in my current computer. I apologise if they're blurred or not very good but there's no way I am deleting any of these!
As a designer Coco Chanel was fascinated with foreign countries and would often ship furniture and ornaments direct from continents like Africa and The Orient. It's a bit politically incorrect by today's standards but I was so impressed by the beauty and detail, I think as soon as I had time, I just spent ages looking at all the screens, books, paintings and ornaments.
One of the most iconic parts of the apartment was the spiral staircase that allowed access from the apartment down to the atelier, where she sat to watch her first fashion show whilst it happened, as shown in the movie Coco Before Chanel, played by the fabulous Audrey Tatou. Frustratingly those photos I did not manage to salvage!
I did find a few other ones of the model who flew in from Asia for the shoot. A curious creature with elegantly long limbs and an incredible grace and awareness that fascinated me! She spoke no English and if I remember her name was Alien! Have a look at some of the pictures from the shoot.
She wore gorgeous couture pieces hand-made, hand-beaded and sequined by expert ladies who worked in the workshop upstairs. I spent as much time as I could talking to them and harassing them with questions! They were so lovely and patient with me and even laughed when I spotted a gigantic bottle of Chanel No 5 and pretended to put it in my makeup kit! They shouted out that it was filled with coloured water!
It really was a magical opportunity and although frustrating at losing the pictures, I am eternally grateful for having experienced it. I hope this wonderful memory of mine has been entertaining and gives you an insight of my profession.