exhibition feature_chanel/pike

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Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike.

Fashion Space Gallery, London,

5 September-15 November 2013.

Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike. Paris 1967-71, assembles a collection of material from the archive of Jeffie Pike Durham that documents the cherished friendship between her mother, Marion Pike, and couturière Coco Chanel. The story is conveyed through the collation of thirteen of Marion’s paintings, Chanel ensembles worn by both Marion and Jeffie, and family ephemera.

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Born into a wealthy West Coast family in 1913, Marion Pike was educated at Stanford University before she enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco in 1932 to study painting. To improve her technique Marion regularly visited Paris where she practiced by copying the work of the Old Masters in the Louvre. Although Marion had been a customer at Chanel for a number of years, she had not met Coco until a mutual friend introduced them in 1967. The two women immediately became close companions and Marion was given permission to set up her easel in the Chanel atelier, painting while Coco devised new models and arranged fittings.

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Marion’s portraits of Coco and their surviving correspondence reveal a more personable side to a designer who is often depicted as opinionated and irascible. For fans of Chanel, the exhibition not only reveals these little documented elements of her personality, but establishes a direct link to the designer: among the items on display are unique accessories that Chanel generously presented to Marion and Jeffie from her own wardrobe.

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Curated by Amy de la Haye, exhibition design by Simon Jones, graphic design by David Hardy.

Exhibition originated by the Fashion Space Gallery, London, 5 September-15 November 2013, touring to Palazzo Morando, Milan, 7 December 2013-23 February 2014.

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Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike. Paris 1967-1971 is published by Fashion Curation Research Office, London College of Fashion.

See other books on Chanel at amazon.co.uk.

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Marion Pike, Chanel on Balcony in Switzerland (detail), 1968. Photograph © James Chou/Jeffie Pike Durham.

Marion Pike, Chanel in her Atelier (detail), 1967. Photograph © James Chou/Jeffie Pike Durham.

Exhibition installation photographs © display_mode, courtesy Jeffie Pike Durham/London College of Fashion.

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