Coco Chanel: A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971

Published under Features, on Sunday 8, 2013

London College of Fashion (http://www.fashion.arts.ac.uk/) is currently hosting an extraordinary exhibition on the remarkable friendship between two talented women, Coco Chanel and artist, Marion Pike.

I was surprised to discover a softer version of Chanel as she was always been described as possessive , critical and distant. Seeing several pictures with the two close friends, telegrams and personal ephemera, I understood that Chanel was comic and protective with those she trusted.

Marion met Chanel in 1976, through a common friend, Broadway director, Friedrick. At that time, as curator Amy de la Haye says, Pike was middle age and Chanel was 84, but despite the fact that she was plagued by arthritis, she continued to work six days per week.

Unhappy with the outcome of most of her portraits, Chanel agreed to let Pike come and take some sketches while she was working in her studio. In the end, she looked at her work and she told Marion: ‘You are a real artist’. Chanel then took the scarf that she was wearing and placed it on Pike’s neck saying: ‘This is the beginning of our friendship’.

It is honestly a touching story and a subject that has never been approached before. This is why I strongly suggest going to the exhibition as you will discover a new Chanel. Also, if you want to know more about how this project came alive, watch the interview that SHOWStudio (http://showstudio.com) did with curator Amy de la Haye : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZSb61IiLOY

The exhibition runs at the Fashion Gallery Space (http://www.fashionspacegallery.com/) from 5th of September until 15th of November 2013, Monday to Friday, from 10am until 6pm and Saturday from 10am untill 4pm. The exhibition then travels to:Palazzo Morando, Milan, between 7th of December and 2nd of March 2014.

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971, Jeffie Pike Durham

Marion Pike, ‘Chanel in her Atelier’, 1967

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971, Jeffie Pike Durham

Article about Chanel in an old newspaper

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971, Jeffie Pike Durham

Letter from Chanel to Marion, letting her know that her dress is ready

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971, Jeffie Pike Durham

Chanel suit Spring/Summer 1969

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971, Jeffie Pike Durham

Marion’s notes

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971, Jeffie Pike Durham

Marion and Coco pose together with ‘Coco Chanel – Big Head’ painted by Marion, 1967

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971,Jeffie Pike Durham

Marion Pike, ‘Chanel on Balcony in Switzerland’, 1968

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971,Jeffie Pike Durham

Chanel, Spring/Summer 1968; Models posing for American Vogue against a backdrop of Marion Pike’s paintings; Photos taken by David Bailey

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971,Jeffie Pike Durham

The scarf Chanel gave to Marion as a friendship gift (1)

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971,Jeffie Pike Durham

The scarf Chanel gave to Marion as a friendship gift (2)

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971,Jeffie Pike Durham

Photos of Chanel and Mariot (1)

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971,Jeffie Pike Durham

Photos of Chanel and Mariot (2)

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971,Jeffie Pike Durham

Marion Pike, ‘Self Portrait’, 1982

Coco Chanel, Chanel, Marion Pike, Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, Fashion Space Gallery, A new portrait, A new portrait by Marion Pike Paris 1967-1971,Jeffie Pike Durham

Marion (right) and her aunt, 1930

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