Tag Archives: chanel

CHANEL N°5 L’EAU

When I think of CHANEL, naturally I think of France and, more specifically, I think of Paris with her white walls and perfectly designed boulevards. But CHANEL is more than one place. It’s more than a fashion house, it’s a lifestyle. If you could live CHANEL, what kind of woman would you be?

You’d probably be the kind of woman who understands heritage, craftsmanship, quality, and artistry. You are confident and current, timeless and unforgettable, you possess a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’… You definitely possess a bottle of CHANEL N° 5 (and so did your mother, and possibly her mother). Perfume, like memories, can thread together our lives, taking us to places like a mystical time traveling fairy. I know, one day, the smell of fresh garden roses will remind my children and my grandchildren of me long after I’m gone. I hope those memories bring back love.

As all things CHANEL does, its perfume is created to perfection, with the highest quality ingredients, and is, of course, made in France. There is no place better in the world to manufacture perfume than on the beautiful French Riviera in Grasse, the cradle of French Perfumery since the 17th century. For over 170 years the fields you see depicted in this story have been owned by the same family, who have passed down knowledge from generation to generation; grandfathers working side by side with sons and grandsons. You can feel the heritage and deep rooted love walking the lanes of endless roses. For the past 30 years CHANEL has had a sole partnership with this family estate. It is here where they recently brought us to experience the 5th interpretation of CHANEL N° 5 called L’EAU, or water in French. According to CHANEL,N°5 L’EAU is not a cologne. Nor is it a diluted version of the original fragrance for, at CHANEL, each variation is a genuine olfactory creation. N°5 L’EAU is the N°5 of today. A composition under the banner of modernity, with freshness as its leitmotif. L’EAU, for water is essential. L’EAU, in praise of simplicity.”

When I arrived to the property I was struck with the overwhelming scent of roses. It was truly the most intoxicating smell I’ve ever experienced. Pure, intense, lovely; it completely wrapped around you, like being covered in nature’s kisses. Nothing will ever compare to the scent of those fields. I walked for hours among the rows of pink roses at different stages in their delicately blooming life span, the perfectly French light dancing warm and golden set against a blue sky. It was ideal bliss. Off in the distance, the chateau sits, proud and historic, like a fairytale from my childhood storybooks. I was, to put it simply, in heaven… even the photos can’t do it justice this time.

The new fragrance is wonderful. It’s timeless like the original N° 5 but modernized perfectly. Less musky, more vibrant. Less suited, more feminine. It’s all I wore while on my journey through Provence, and what I wear at home to travel back to this place… my heaven on earth.

Something that my friend, artist, and archaeologist Jean Pierre Soalhat said to me on my recent visit to Provence, “Our future is inside of our past.”  I believe this quote truly represents the heritage of Chanel’s brand, their perfumes, and certainly the driving force behind behind L’EAU, modernity guided by tradition. The memories that a perfect scent creates, reflect moments in our lives, the lives of our loved ones, memories that lead into our future and last forever.

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The May Bloom: Rose de Mai

40-50 tons of roses are produced in a season, handpicked by farmers. The blooms begin the last week of April and throughout the month of May.  At first light, every morning at 7am the buds will begin to bloom, two days after they have opened up their beautiful petals, they must be picked. The lifespan of one rose bush is 15-20 years.

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“And then, like a second wind, you can already hear the rustle of flowers. It sounds like the whisper of trembling tulle. Rose melds with oxygenated jasmine and a new fraction of ylang ylang, more modern than ever. You are plunged into the heart of the bouquet with a delectable dizziness that gives the impression of contact with each petal, its velvety touch, its fleshiness, its delicate lace, its changing shape.” -The house of CHANEL CHANEL_No_5_LEAU_05 (more…)

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It’s a CHANEL world

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I like the idea of rejecting winter. While talking one morning with the team at CHANEL about the launch of their eyewear e-commerce for the US I started dreaming about those sunny resort days ahead when you desperately crave warm golden light and any color besides gray. Once I was driving with a friend in the early spring and she laughed at me as I starred glassy eyed out the window and said “I miss the color green.”

It’s just that simple.

So let’s bring resort to us. In a beautiful explosion of color lost in the concrete industrial vault of Brooklyn, Juliane, our exotic CHANEL flower, paints a trail of prismacolor like an escaped wildflower from some tropical distant land, bringing back to life the sticky memories of warm days past and all that there is to look forward to when we bloom to our fullest beauty again.

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CHANEL + PARIS

It’s hard not to think about Paris when thinking about CHANEL. It’s an entangled marriage that has withstood the hands of time that withers away most relationships. For this shoot I wanted to bring to life the Paris I feel and see when I think of CHANEL. Her perfectly monochromatic glow, silvery reflections of long casted shadows carrying the sound of clicking heels mysteriously descending from rue en rue, the dusty ashtrays at the night’s end as the last dance of smoke from a cigarette disappears into darkness.  This is my Paris. Black and white and smudged with history.

As I write this I am looking out at the rooftops of Paris from my suite at the Le Bristol Hotel pondering this wonderful moment in time. Time is a recurring constant in my life. As a photographer I count in tenths of a second and, as an artist, I try to pause it.

CHANEL released a new timepiece this season inspired by Coco Chanel’s nature to draw inspiration from the masculine wardrobe which has come to be an emblematic style of CHANEL. Coco was famed for her many boyfriends which, not surprisingly, inspired many of her creations and shaped the course of her life. It is then fitting the watch is named Boy.Friend – balancing both the iconic CHANEL watch shape but with a more masculine over-sized face, manual mechanical movement and ardillon buckle.

So we put the three together, my smokey silver city of lights, her mysterious fashion muse CHANEL and in the shadows the spirit of the woman who continues to inspire us all, Madame Coco.

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Play it for CHANEL

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The fashion world is always colliding and collaborating with artists, like two exotic fish constantly swimming around each other in a never-ending dance of inspiration, a black and white yin & yang. When the Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2015 collection came to New York for 48 hours they sent a selection over to our studio for another midnight sitting (after the delicate, one-of-a-kind pieces spent the day in back-to-back appointments with clients, collectors, buyers and press).

Of course, shooting couture on a model would be terribly fun but sometimes I want more of a story… not to mention, the Chanel shoots happen in the middle of New York Fashion Week where every model is busy being sent down the runways multiple times a day.

So we find our own muses.

Last September it was our Botticelli-esque raven, artist India Salvor Menuez on a concrete set piece we created for her, to live like a flower sprouting up between the cracks of distressed urban time. For this sitting, my creative collaborator Kelly Framel, found violinist Margot Moe, already a fixture in the fashion world for her legendary violin riffs over musical partner Mia Moretti’s DJ sets. They’ve brought music from the Lower East Side up to the runways of Fashion Week and into the temple of art by opening for Janet Jackson at the Louvre.

Which brings me back to my point of fashion and art and its never ending dance of inspiration.

So here Margot is, an artist, and there is CHANEL, the most legendary fashion house in the world, a moment of black and white yin and yang tugging and pulling and swirling and and jumping around each other on set like a tangled pair of lovers caught up in the fires of inspiration one never quite able to let the other go.

We sat in the studio in silence and listened to Margot play, the snow falling in a white blanket outside our old industrial windows contrasting with the inky black looks billowing through the set and I thought back to that moment when I was sitting in Coco Chanel’s Paris apartment  last fall, listening to the stories of her intimate dinner parties. She liked interesting people, people who had a story, people who created something and played to their own tune much like Coco herself.

I can’t help but think in another world, she would have been quite pleased to have Margot filling her home and her heart with a soulful tune that would fade out onto the black and white streets of Paris…

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Tell me about some of the current projects you are working on?

I’m in the studio right now recording my solo record, creating a classical music mixtape, and writing an orchestral piece. 

You’re an incredible violinist, how did you get started?

I picked it up when I was four and haven’t put it down since. 

What drew you to the violin? 

It’s a conversation without words.

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