Extract from ‘Coco Chanel: the Legend and the Life’ (published by Harper Collins).

“Misia – who was so famous at the time that she was known throughout Paris by her first name – met Chanel in 1917.
This was an era when Misia was queen of the city, a muse who had reigned over artists since her youth, capricious and compelling, a law unto herself, with a court who paid heed to all her pronouncements. ‘What I admire in Misia is that joie de vivre always concealed behind a mask of ill-humour; that perfect poise, even in moments of despair,’ observed Paul Morand in his diary in April 1917. ‘And then Misia is Misia, someone with no equal and, as Proust says, a monument.’ As such, she had been painted by Renoir, Vuillard, Lautrec and Bonnard; inspired the poetry of Mallarmé, the prose of Proust, the music of Debussy and Ravel and the gossip of Cocteau and Picasso. A gifted pianist herself, Misia had sat on Liszt’s knee and performed Beethoven for him as a child. ‘Ah, if only I could play like that,’ he said, with his customary charm, and predicted a dazzling future for her; thereafter, Misia was taught the piano by Fauré, who regarded her as a prodigy. Her powerful position at the centre of the inner circle of Parisian art was consolidated by virtue of her close friendship with Serge Diaghilev, the director of the most sought-after ballet company in the world at that time, Ballets Russes. Chanel was 11 years younger, and not yet as socially pivotal in Parisian society, but Misia fell for her when they met at a dinner party at the home of Cécile Sorel, a glamorous French actress who was already a client at Rue Cambon.”

Justine Picardie is the author of five books, including her critically acclaimed memoir, If The Spirit Moves You, and her most recent novel Daphne. The former features director of Vogue, and editor of Observer magazine, she currently writes for several other newspapers and magazines, including the Times, Sunday Telegraph and Harper’s Bazaar.

Exhibition: Misia, reine de Paris. June 12th – September 9th at the musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Anonymous, Misia Natanson in a black dress, 1896-1897
Duplicate of a silver print photography
Private collection
© Vuillard Archives, Paris



After a triumphant debut in Tokyo, Chanel’s ‘Little Black Jacket’ Project made its way to the vibrant, glittering city of Hong Kong, via Tokyo, New York and Taipei. The exhibition finds snug home at the Space Gallery, on the charming Hollywood Road, where it will stay from the 7th to 16th July.

Karl’s intimate black and white portraits hang on pale grey walls in the two-storey gallery nestled in the midst of an area known for art galleries, Chinese antique furniture stores and small independent boutiques. Just down the road is the famed 150-year-old Man Mo Temple. On the hot, balmy evening that ‘Little Black Jacket’ was unveiled, the city’s glitterati came out in full force for the event. The jacket might have been black but the crowd was certainly colourful. A newly blonde French actress Cecile Cassel flew into Hong Kong along with actress Elisa Sednaoui who sparkled in a plunging floor length dress.

Chinese movie star Tang Wei, fresh from multiple awards wins at Korean film festivals, came to the opening and pointed out her favourite from Lagerfeld’s over 100 portraits: a large scale print of 4 year old Scarlett Utzmann Huynh. The ever-stylish digital artist Yi Zhou also joined. Noted local faces at the gallery included famed songstress Joey Yung, Hong Kong’s most noted lyricist and style maker Wyman Wong and Hilary Tsui, boutique owner and fashion figure. They had all styled their own little black Chanel jackets to distinctive effect.

Just as Karl Lagerfeld expresses the Mademoiselle’s fascination with Asia in inspired designs, so Asia’s fascination with Chanel continues to be still, ever strong. Celebrity make up artist Zing, who is an avid collector of modern and vintage Chanel jackets, was delighted to see the exhibit hit Hong Kong. Zing has been wearing little black Chanel jackets for years. And why not? The walls show Karl and Carine’s men don the garment in a nod to the men’s uniforms that originally inspired Mademoiselle’s aesthetic. 

The Hong Kong skyline is one that comes alive after dark, and as the sun set on this vernissage, crowds hopped next door to the after party. Musician Choi Sai Ho entertained an eclectic crowd of VIPs.“ Fashion isn’t just present in dresses,” Coco Chanel once said.
“Fashion is in the air, it’s borne by the wind, we sense it, we breathe it, it’s in the sky and on the tarmac, it’s everywhere, it comes from ideas, custom, events...”

Occasionally, the acuity of something new, like this exhibition, can touch on a sense of timelessness. And in fast paced Hong Kong, that is cause for celebration indeed.

Photo by Frédéric David


The Little Black Jacket

Choi Sai Ho "Violin Cityscape" (Live)

Media 1
Media 2
Media 3
Media 4
Media 5
Media 6
Media 7
Media 8
Media 9
Media 10
Media 11
Media 12
Media 13
Media 14
Media 15




The Little Black Jacket
By Anne Combaz


The link has been copied