Douglas Kirkland: Coco Chanel Photographs at Westwood Gallery in SoHo

Art Daily, 24 Sep 2008

Westwood Gallery in SoHo, New York is pleased to present a premiere exhibition with never before seen photographs of Coco Chanel by photographer Douglas Kirkland. The exhibition of 40 photographs represents a documentation of intimate and public moments of a woman who transformed 20th century fashion.

In 1962, at the age of 27, Kirkland received an assignment from Look Magazine to photograph Chanel for a story on the legendary fashion icon. For a period of three weeks, Kirkland shadowed Mademoiselle Chanel capturing her intense schedule and daily routine with models, fitters, clients and friends. In order to gain her trust and approval, Chanel instructed Kirkland to initially photograph models wearing her collection and submit the prints for her review. Chanel was so taken with the young man and his photographic skill; she allowed him access to her private rooms, surveying her everyday movements. In addition to fashion images, Kirkland and Chanel took a day trip to Versailles resulting in surreal photographs of the 'grande dame' appropriately set in the royal gardens. Coco Chanel revolutionized women's fashion with creations and style, including the 'little black dress', Chanel's signature cardigan jacket, women's casual wear, quilted handbags, short hairstyles, mixing real and costume jewelry, as well as Chanel No. 5, the world's best selling perfume. Today, at 74 years old, Kirkland remembers with great fondness and admiration the days spent with Coco Chanel. His photographs provide a personal view of this extraordinary individual, the most influential fashion designer of the 20th century.