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For many women, their trove of indelible memories includes their first kiss, how their spouse proposed to them and, apparently, as prompted by a Chanel-sponsored talk and dinner on Thursday night at Soho House in West Hollywood, their first encounter with a Chanel design.
In the case of Liz Goldwyn, who hosted the festivities to celebrate a new limited edition of Justine Picardie’s biography “Chanel: Her Life” designed and illustrated by Karl Lagerfeld, it was stories of Coco Chanel creating costumes for her grandfather Samuel Goldwyn’s movies in the Thirties. Paid $1 million at the time, Chanel outfitted Gloria Swanson, star of “Tonight or Never,” in nun-inspired black dresses with white fur trim, as well as rubber girdles to hide her pregnancy. Unfortunately, the costumes that Chanel made for Swanson and two other movies were lost in a garbage bag.
“I wish I had the clothing,” Goldwyn lamented to an audience that included Marisa Tomei, Jena Malone, Monet Mazur, Lydia Hearst-Shaw, Karla Welch, Jeremy Scott, Frankie Rayder and Michele Hicks.
Abbie Cornish soaked up the Goldwyn-Chanel history. “I wasn’t aware of how deep that connection was,” she said.
Picardie understood perfectly the primal connection that Chanel makes with women.
“It’s very often to do with women’s memories, perhaps [of] their mother or grandmother,” she said. “It does become the fabric of their past.”
Several guests shared their link to the brand. Minnie Mortimer remembered how she got into trouble when she was a little girl for removing her mother’s Chanel handbags from their protective cases and playing with them. Shiva Rose named one of her daughters Coco. Loree Rodkin recalled how Karl Lagerfeld copied her jewelry once when he couldn’t get in touch with her. The statuesque Jacqui Getty, who owns more than 30 Chanel pieces and two couture gowns, already promised to give the deep green Chanel jacket with Baroque buttons that she was wearing that evening to her petite daughter, Gia Coppola.
If only Alice Eve were as lucky. The British actress crossed her fingers that she’d be able to wear Chanel on her upcoming gig as a judge for the Zurich Film Festival. “I hope and pray,” she said. “Let’s speak to the Chanel gods.”