This September sees the London College of Fashion opening a new exhibition celebrating two of the most artistically talented women of the twentieth century. Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike, Paris 1967-71 lends an insightful glimpse into the friendship between the designer and the artist Marion Pike. The two first met in 1967 when Pike was commissioned to paint a portrait of Coco Chanel in her signature style of exuberant colours and large-scale dimensions.
The exhibition at LCF will display five portraits of Chanel by the Californian artist that had been archived by Pike’s daughter, Jeffie Pike Durham, who has loaned the portraits to be displayed together for the first time. The exhibition not only adds a piece to the story of a venerated figure in the fashion industry, but also serves as a personal experience for Pike’s daughter.
Born in 1883, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Bonheur Chanel revolutionised the standard of dress, introducing the iconic Chanel suit and loose, flattering styles that transformed fashion of the day away from the heavily structured and corseted looks of her predecessors and peers. Her first boutique opened in 1910 and her fashion empire continues to grow today. The anticipated exhibition includes haute couture pieces designed by Chanel for Pike and her daughter to wear.
Pike’s attraction to art and her love of exploring and travelling began at a very young age as she embarked on the first of many world trips at the tender age of twelve. Her penchant for artistic flair developed into a career that allowed her to capture the beauty of her surroundings and influential people, garnering praise as a visionary colourist.
As Chanel herself once said, “Fashion fades, only style remains.” The designer’s style continues to live on as we continue to celebrate the legendary Chanel.
Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike, Paris 1967-71, curated by LCF’s Professor Amy de la Haye, runs from September 5th to November 16th at the Fashion Space Gallery, 20 John Princes