Douglas Kirkland. Coco Chanel

17.01.2018 — 15.04.2018

The first exhibition in Russia by the award-winning American photographer, lecturer and author of several books, Douglas Kirkland. A special project is a photo chronicle of 3 weeks in the life of Coco Chanel, which was presented in the Center for Photography. The series includes 50 photographs of 79-year-old Coco Chanel in preparation for a fashion show, as well as her daily life and walks in Versailles.

“I watched Coco Chanel as she approached the atelier, marching vigorously down Rue Cambon. She did this every morning when she left her apartment at the Ritz, which had been her home for over twenty years. She was immersed in her own world, hidden behind dark sunglasses. An incredibly petite woman who behaved proudly and exuded an atmosphere of power and self-confidence. “ This is the description Douglas Kirkland gave to Coco when he first saw her in Paris.

In 1962, Kirkland was commissioned to document the daily life of the most famous couturier of all time for LOOK magazine. He spends 21 days with Chanel and manages to make a series of photographs in which the inimitable Mademoiselle appears front of us as a completely different character.

“At first, Mademoiselle did not recognize me. I seemed much younger than I really was and, of course, I was not yet known then. Before confiding in me, she insisted that I capture several of her images, develop films and make prints just for her, so that she could evaluate the result. I was given the green light and started spending many hours with Mademoiselle and her colleagues. There were no bans. ”

The photographs in this series are the result of this unique encounter and form an intimate, deep portrait of Chanel. She appears in front of  us as funny, flirtatious, rebellious, serious, friendly, young and energetic. Kirkland managed to capture Coco and her galaxy.

Everything in the photographs seems to revolve around her: from her personal belongings, dresses, jewelry, shoes, Dunhill lighter, to clients, tailors and seamstresses. She is the sun around which everything and everyone revolves. The black and white photographs refer to Coco Chanel’s unique tailor-made, hand-made fashion and show Coco Chanel’s unique take on fashion and women. In those years, the Chanel fashion house was inextricably linked with Jackie Kennedy, who chose her as her favorite fashion brand.

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