Published on October 21, 2013 | by Hollie Bracciale


Chanel pieces on show at LCF

When someone says Chanel, what springs to mind? The brand’s famous double ‘C’ icon, tweed boucle jackets or maybe stacks of pearls? What about the woman behind the name?

Before her death, Coco Chanel destroyed personal documents that would have helped to paint a picture of her life and instead chose to romanticise her history.

Various films have attempted to piece together the designer’s story, all of which have included traumatic events in her early life that left her bitter and lonely in her later years.

Now a collection of artwork, clothing, letters and photos have been used to create an exciting new exhibition that tells a story of the friendship between Coco Chanel and Marion Pike.


Pike, an artist from California, met Chanel in 1967, only a few years before the designer died, to paint a portrait at the Parisian’s studio.

An immediate bond was formed between the two creatives and it is through this friendship a window into Chanel’s world has been opened.

In the new exhibition Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike currently on at LCF’s Space Gallery, items from both the artist and the designer’s colourful past are curated in a never before seen collection.

Chanel is portrayed as affectionate and comedic, but ultimately devoted to her craft through portraits by Pike displayed with snapshots of the artist and designer, paintings of Chanel’s atelier and letters between the two.


Pike’s daughter Jeffie was introduced to Chanel in 1968 and was given a suit and necklace from the designer’s own wardrobe.

These pieces alongside other original items – given to the mother and daughter by Chanel – will join the display of pieces which capture her and Pike’s close friendship in this highly anticipated collection.

Marion Pike was known for her skill as a portrait artist with a remarkable talent of capturing her sitter in both a spiritual and physical way.

Described by Chanel as ‘a real artist’, Pike could capture the soul of a person and translate it through paint.

In Chanel’s final years Pike painted over 13 portraits, each portraying her as the dedicated designer that she was – working six days a week, surrounded by fabric and clothes.

Two of the portraits, ‘Coco Chanel: Big Head’ and “Chanel in her Atelier’ featured in the designer’s spring/summer 1968 catwalk show.

Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike is currently being shown at the Fashion Space Gallery at London College of Fashion, John Prince’s Street until 15th November.

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