When Sam Taylor-Johnson climbed the famous mirrored staircase of Chanel’s headquarters at 31 Rue Cambon, Paris, she did not quite know what to expect.
Her destination was Coco Chanel’s private apartment on the second floor; her mission, to photograph it.
Through the door marked “MADEMOISELLE PRIVÉ”, Taylor-Johnson entered Coco Chanel’s secret world—exactly as she had left it at her death in 1971. Taylor-Johnson captures the mysterious, eerie presence of Coco’s ornaments and furniture: a golden lion, a bejewelled birdcage, leather-bound books, Chinese lacquer screens, crystal chandeliers.
Ultimately we are left with a sense of beautiful emptiness—Coco’s touch is everywhere, but everywhere is haunted by her absence.