Rue Cambon, in search of Coco Chanel

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Rue Cambo

Walking down rue Cambon is walking in famous fashion designer Gabrielle Chanel’s shoes. Her story started here at number 21 in 1910 when she opened her first hat shop. The clean-cut, elegant designs’ originality took Paris by surprise and everyone suddenly wanted one. Backed by this initial success, she launched into creating clothes never imagined before and revolutionised the fashion industry in her day: the female silhouette changed, clothes became plainer, more comfortable and went well with short hair cuts.

In 1978, Gabrielle’s Maison de Couture was booming and she therefore opened another boutique further down rue Cambon at number 31. This is where she used to show her new collections to celebrities and loyal clients. The iconic boutique is reputed for the stairway covered in mirrors designed by Coco herself to reflect her collections and mulitply them infinitively. She used to watch the shows attentively hidden from sight at the top of those stairs. On the first floor she set up rooms where collections were presented daily to walk-in customers up to 1971. The rooms were later turned into private changing rooms for celebrities and select customers.

The second floor is home to Coco Chanel’s appartment which has remained intact since she passed away. It includes an entrance, a lounge, a dining room and a study but no bedroom. She only used it to meet close friends and think up her next designs often inspired by the impressive amount of objects she collected. Statues, ornaments, books, folding screens, mirrors, chandeliers and other original items of furniture from her travels are all arranged harmoniously. This visionary woman found inspiration in these symbols which helped to completely overhaul the world of fashion.
The workshops and studios on the top floors are where the brand’s iconic models are thought up and put together.
Chanel went on to open another outlet at number 19. The recently renovated boutique presents their latest collections.