The fact that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was a woman of taste is certainly not something that needed any confirming but when we were invited to the re-see of the Chanel Paris-Bombay collection inside her rue Cambon apartment, Coco Chanel’s stauts as fashion icon was reiterated. Our hearts missed a beat when we walked up the famous spiral staircase to Chanel’s apartment. As we saw ourselves in the mirror panels covering the walls, we remembered that Coco used to sit at the top of the staircase where no one could see her, and watch her own shows through their reflection in the mirror.
Admiring Coco’s eclectic mix of classical French furniture and oriental antiquities as well as her penchant for Japanese sculptures and religious artefacts, it soon became clear that this unique fusion of Occident and Orient was the perfect setting for Chanel’s Paris-Bombay collection presentation. Heavy jewellery like precious tikka headpieces and other Indian inspired necklaces, bangles, armlets and rings completed the collections opulent yet nonchalant style. As if King Karl were reborn as a Maharaja, the looks, shown on mannequins, are a perfect mix of Parisian chic and a “just returned from Goa” style.
You’d find fitted and couture-like versions of sari gowns and harem pants in mostly white and metallic shades contrasting with a few splashes of fuchsia and Persian blue. Boyish costumes in lamé fabrics add a casual attitude to the collection, while massive embroideries and hand-painted flower motifs would set a refined and feminine tone. And of course, Karl paid homage to Coco’s superstitious fascination with opulent crystal jewels whose healing powers she believed in. Bedazzled by the experience, we can only hope that Chanel will reveal more of Coco’s secret inspirations very soon.