This weekend I visited the Saatchi gallery with my friend Tessa. It was a lovely Sunday morning trip.

I left from my home in West Dulwich to Fulham Broadway, which is a little bit of London I still haven’t discovered yet at around 10.30am (Slightly hungover from Saturday nights antics at Brixton Social).

The morning started wonderfully by being cooked a lovely brunch by Tessa’s boyfriend, I’m a bit of a foody so I will happily take a moment to discuss what I ate – Grilled Poussin with Garlic rubbed skin, homemade pancakes and a shallot and white wine sauce to pour over the chicken, with a little rocket too - heaven! Slightly strange too it wasn’t even mid-day yet but I was not complaining. So with a full belly me and Tessa happily left our brunch on the balcony to visit the new Chanel exhibition at The Saatchi gallery in West London.
The artist, Sam Taylor has taken photos of the elusive apartment of Coco Chanel at Rue Cambon. It’s the subject of her new exhibition called “Second Floor”.

We first of all looked around the other famous artwork including Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros' horrifying giant ants (The stuff of nightmares) but still striking none the less.

The gallery in itself is very modern and pretty with very nice floor to ceiling windows that look over Fulham Broadways rooftops. The are many different levels and it is slightly confusing as there isn’t a right way to walk around it, each room leads into a different staircase with another smaller room, I felt a little like I may have missed something. One annoyance I have (My only one I think) is that I like my art explained to me, there are no plaques with any information from the artists view point, although I obviously have my own opinion on seeing art for the first time it is still nice to know my thoughts are on the right track and to get a deeper meaning behind the art. Finally we reached the ‘Chanel room’. I had high expectations for the pictures as I have read Chanel ‘The intimate life’ which describes Rue Cambon and how detailed the apartment was with all of Coco’s ornaments and trinkets she liked to collect. I have envisaged a glorious luxurious hall way full of art deco lushness and gold everywhere with huge drapes and fine artwork that leads onto an open space and tall ceilings.

The room we entered where the pictures hung was dark. So were the pictures. The photography was clever in depicting the mood of the era and probably the lady herself. It was dark yet inviting? The artist had picked certain statues to photograph including her many Lion statues and crystal balls that she had collected, I presume the lion theme was as she was an August born baby and represented her personality. In many of the pictures you had to look closely to see things in the backround slightly highlighted by the flash of the camera and almost miss able in the first glance. The pictures where often not a full shot but of items and rare finds.

The pictures weren’t as ‘Beautiful’ as I was hoping though. The apartment looked like it was full to the brim and loved but the pictures portrayed a sadness almost everything was dark brown, greens and gold’s and looked luxurious yet heavy and claustrophobic . The curtains were closed and no one was home.

My favorite however was the famous art deco staircase in which Coco designed herself for the store. The picture looked down the stair case and showed how utterly Grand the store must have been for its time. The light reflected off the stairs and was polished to perfection, which I’m sure no shop assistant dared walk on it, a contrast to the other dark photos this was light, modern looking silver and white. They also had a chair which was from her apartment that was upholstered and gilded with gold. No surprise there. Everything about the apartment above her first store felt like her home, it was full of everything she had kept over the years and was as opulent as she and her fashion designs are now, but I can’t help but think of the famous quote ‘Always take one accessory off before you leave the house’, I think she should have done that with her home, stopped at just one giant Lion to represent your birth month, not 5 or 6.

After studying all the pieces I captured a nice French quote at the end from Catherine Pozzi . (See picture). We then left the Saatchi to go find coffee and cake, instead we stumbled upon a Joe & the juice which finished our girly afternoon perfectly, good conversation, good art and a great companion to spend a Sunday with.

The exhibition is running at the Saatchi gallery from now until October 4th.

Note: Article submitted for publication, with thanks to Poppy Rogers