In between missing a flight, buying another one, switching up from LFW to MFW, I somehow managed to drop by Chanel’s new exhibition “Second Floor” at the Saatchi Gallery. On the second floor of the gallery, is a beautiful series of painterly photographs by Sam Taylor-Johnson, who went up that famous mirrored staircase to the second floor of 31 rue Cambon in Paris to capture treasured objects and furniture in Coco Chanel’s apartment.
In addition to seeing the exhibition, it was quite impossible to turn down an invitation to get made up by the legendary Mary Greenwell, who was make-up artist to Princess Diana and is currently Chanel’s make-up ambassador as well as be dressed up in Chanel’s supermarket sweet AW14 collection. Make-up tips for a make-up dunce AND the sort of clothes that I’ve only mostly written about rather than physically experience. You say… “YES!”
So bleary-eyed from show-going and boshing out over 1,000 words everyday, I schlepped into the New Bond Street Chanel mason before it opened up and went about picking out clothes and accessories and then headed to the make-up counter where lovely Mary immediately declared, “Now darling, you have great skin but you need to exfoliate.” Direct and to the point, I’ll heed her words. I do need to exfoliate. She was also incredibly swift in applying all the magical lotions and potions to my face to get what can only be described as a smoky eyed vamp look, which I kind of loved because it was so far and away from what I normally slap on my face. Face-wise, I discovered the wonders of Le Blanc Sheer Illuminating base that literally made my face looked glowy in an instant. I’ll be smudging my eyes with some Illusion D’Ombre without the deft skill of Mary, in a bid to do “smoky”, whilst probably ending up with “messy”. And I’ll smear on Rouge Coco lippie in shade Rivoli thinking I’ll achieve what Mary did in literally half a minute. Her motto is apparently “Quick and good!” as opposed to laboured and not as good… I’ll be taking the quick but not so good route.
We then made our way over to the Saatchi Gallery so that I could have a gander at Taylor-Johnson’s photographs of Mademoiselle Chanel’s apartment on rue Cambon, which I vividly remember visiting from way back in 2007 in ye olde Style Bubble days. They’re certainly impressionistic rather than realistic, which probably deepens the mysterious aura about that beautiful bijoux space. In stark contrast to those still and chiaroscuro-filled photographs, I came crashing in, decked out in the most exuberant of Chanel’s A/W 14-5 looks like this yellow coat with abstract patterned lining and matching shirt paired with some of the best fitting silver trousers I’ve ever had on (yes I’ve tried several…) and holographic panelled tweed trainers (check out all the awesome colourways… ). I also squeezed my way in to one of Chanel’s coat dresses with inbuilt corsets, which immediately changed my posture for the better. The novelty bags like the milk and eggs carton purses also made an appearance as did the quilted bum bag, which like SS14’s canvas paint-covered backpack, is defo more my speed in terms of not wanting to look too lady-lady. No chance with this kitsch-tinged collection though as jewellery wise, I got loaded up with tin can cuffs, giant padlock necklaces and once again, ooohed and aaahed over the candy bracelets and necklaces. In less than two hours, I had gotten a very intense Chanel fix – which in between shows was actually a fun respite. Until Paris when the next Chanel extravaganza will play out… in just over a week’s time. With about 6,000 or so words to bosh out between now and then. Me thinks I’ll be using that Illusion d’Ombre stuff to add to the panda eye effect.
All photographs by Becky Maynes
All clothes and accessories from Chanel A/W 14-5 Act 2, now available to buy in Chanel boutiques (if you can venture forth and afford it) except for my own scraggy Miuccia band tee that I’m wearing to get my make-up done.
‘Second Floor’ by Sam Taylor-Johnson is open at Saatchi Gallery daily from 10am – 6pm until Saturday 4th October.