Monday, October 17, 2005


I found myself in the Rue Cambon this afternoon and decided to see if I could feel the spirit of Gabrielle Chanel lingering somehow. I entered the enormous Chanel store which stretches along half the street feeling like my boots were too cheap. I don't know why I get this feeling in Paris as I used to actually work in equally intimidating designer shops in both London and Milan. Yes I used to be a snooty shop assistant in snooty snooty posh stores. But I wasn't really snooty I was very nice to people. Including shabbily dressed tourists.

So there were at least 100 members of perfectly 'Chaneled' staff, all wafting around, going in and out of doors that lead who knows where - to the inner sanctum? And each and every one of them says 'Bonjour!' And I reply 'Bonjour!' After about the 25th time I start giggling a bit and try to concentrate on the clothes.

When I was studying fashion the tutors always made this reference to the fact that the actual cost price of a Chanel jacket that sells for a couple of thousand is £45. How they knew this I have no idea. I have wandered round Chanel boutiques before, bought the odd pair of sunglasses but today there was something about the atmosphere, the way the clothes were displayed that made me examine them more closely.

A beautiful loosely woven slub silk tweedy jacket, almost ready to fall apart if you're not careful with it, had an layer of chiffon just peeking out under the hem. And when I turned up the hem it had a metal chain sewn all the way around it to make the jacket hang perfectly. I have only ever seen that before on vintage clothes in museums.

Karl, I kiss your fingerless leather begloved hand.

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