Coco.

Season 7 of my show has wrapped, and season 8 does not start for a minute so I’m currently technically off work. This doesn’t happen often so in attempt to embrace every moment of my freedom of time (a hot and rare commodity) I proactively wrote a list of local things I would LOVE to do, but am always too busy to enjoy. For the first ten days of my break I signed up for a morning ballet intensive. I left the afternoons to peruse the list and either imbibe in an adventure or relax on the sofa/at the beach/at a cafe and dive into a book.

Its day#4 of the ballet intensive and it has been rigorous, challenging, and FANTASTIC. I’ve already noticed improvement and I still have six more days to go! That being said,  the four hours of dance, resistance training, and cardio definitely takes a lot out of us dancers, so I’ve mostly been relaxing after “camp”. Oddly I was less tired today than the previous three days (my body is adapting?) so I decided to begin my Los Angeles Adventure. What better way to get one’s mind off an achy body than a visit to the Chanel Boutique? Especially if your a lover of fashion!

The Adventure:

I’ve lived in Southern California for 15 years and Los Angeles for something like 5 and I’ve never been to Rodeo Drive, let alone Chanel (a blessing from above for my wallet, I’m sure). As I drove the convoluted Mulholland Drive to my destination, I turned up the tunes and rolled down the window to feel the wind in my hair. I began to truly celebrate my new found freedom from schedules and deadlines.

Relaxed and happy, I pulled into the Chanel driveway. There is valet and no charge! Happy day because a. I hate finding parking in LA and b. do I ever carry cash? (answer: no). Upon walking in the store I was pleasantly greeted but no pushiness. Also, surprisingly, no attitude. I say this because I have been to other high end boutiques inside department stores (I wont mention names), and the sales people have been not so friendly/a bit uppity. Not true of Chanel. It was welcoming, light, and perfectly decorated with their own bags. Every bag is gorgeous and, as we know, well made. How one can make a choice I have no idea. Honestly, I can see why if you can afford it, you’d own one of each style and then some fashion bags and clutches. Downstairs was bags, jewelry, and makeup. Upstairs; clothes and shoes.

The luxurious Chanel Boutique on Rodeo Drive.  Photo from google images.
The luxurious Chanel Boutique on Rodeo Drive. Photo from google images.

I first spent time with a sales associate named Gabby. I explained to her that I have a big birthday coming up, and I would like to invest in a Chanel handbag. Gabby was such a dear; at my request she took the time to explain the differences between and the history of each bag category.

Fashion bags are released every season and are a variation of the classics. Today I saw this charming pink velvet one that reflected the light oh so beautifully….it was really hard to walk away…..

The Boy Bag, fairly recently designed by Karl Lagerfeld, is considered a more “edgy” piece for the modern woman. This bag is square in shape and has chunky hardware.

I die for this bag. Its even better in person. Photo from google images.
I seriously die for this bag, an example of a fashion boy bag. Its even better in person. Photo from google images.

The Classic, designed by Karl Lagerfeld in the 1980’s, is an updated version of Coco Chanel’s original handbag. Its intertwined chain and leather strap and famous CC lock and closures are indicative to this piece.

The Classic comes in various types of leather and sizes.
The Classic comes in various types of leather and sizes. Photo from Google images. 

The 2.55  is Coco’s original design. This piece, first released in February 1955 (hence the 2.55) is deeply quilted with history. The interior burgundy flap  represents the catholic school uniforms that Coco wore in the orphanage. The strap is made from the same metal the chains on which the nuns at her orphanage carried their keys. Coco was an avid tipper and preferred to have cash handy, so she designed a pocket on the back for tip money. There’s also a special pocket to hold lipstick (love!) and a “secret” pocket where Coco hid her love letters.The 2.55 dons a simple square clasp with the name Chanel embossed at the bottom. During an era when small hand-held bags were in fashion, Chanel’s design was the first handbag ever produced that could also be carried on the shoulder.  The creation of Coco’s original was monumental to her. Each piece of history rooted into the bag was her way of saying “I’ve made it, but I will never forget from where I’ve come”. I hope that when purchased, the modern woman carrying her new Chanel also remembers from where she’s come. That the bag represents to her, and solely her, that she’s “made it” to a point that she can afford one of these beauties!

A fantastic photo of Coco with her original design, the 2.55. Photo from
A fantastic photo of Coco with her original design, the 2.55. Photo taken from Vintage District. This blog article is extremely interesting as it further discusses the history and differences between these bags- confirming much of what Gabby told me earlier today.

After learning the history of the bags, and trying many on in order to narrow down my birthday bag selection (wasn’t purchased yet, but, like a few of us- and you know who you are :), I’ve been saving up), I visited the second floor.

The Second Floor:

Here, I kid you not, I felt I died and went to heaven. The Shoe section! A square room with sliding mirrors and the most beautiful babies you’ve ever seen. There was a pair of grey textured booties that were beyond! And a pair of velvet oxfords I actually liked, and the classic black tipped nude with a chunk heel which was all over the runway and I’m currently obsessing over! I’m simultaneously surprised and relieved that I left empty handed!

The other two thirds of the top floor was dedicated to clothing. All gorgeous, as expected. I fell for a jacket and this amazing grey sweater. Something to dream about :).

Love.
Love. Photo taken from Chanel website.

I adore what I know about Coco. She was brave, non-abdicating, wise, and ambitious, and she seemed to treat everyone with respect and equality (Why didn’t I include her in my life&style role models???!) When I finally buy my bag, I will not only use it as a reminder regarding where I’m from, but I’ll carry it with pride to keep Coco’s spirit alive.

What to Wear:

In case your wondering what the heck to wear on Rodeo Drive, the following ensamble is what I put together for my visit. I felt comfortable and I think Danielle would be proud.

Top: T by Alexander Wang Skirt: Alexa Chung for AG Bag: Givenchy Booties: Prada
Top: T by Alexander Wang Skirt: Alexa Chung for AG Bag: Givenchy Booties: Prada

The love of my boots helped me feel good about leaving the lovely Chanel beauties behind. Success!

xo

QJ

QJ

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