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Misia Sert & Coco Chanel

by Marlies Dekkers

 Do you believe in friendship at first sight? I certainly do. To me, friendship is a very passionate thing; souls being touched, hearts forging an eternal bond. My BFF’s are everything to me! That’s why I LOVE the story of Misia Sert and Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. When they met each other, during a dinner party in 1917, that was it. “I love your coat,” pianist and patroness of the arts Misia (link to first blog) told Coco. The fashion icon immediately took off her red velvet fur-trimmed coat and put it on Misia as a gift.

Misia didn’t accept, but the next morning she visited Coco at her boutique at Rue Cambon. They found out they had a lot in common: a lethal wit, a love of gossip, and youths spent in a monestary. They became BFF’s. When Coco’s lover Arthur Capel died in a car accident, Misia took her to Venice, where she introduced Coco to Sergey Diaghilev and a life of beauty and art. Through Misia, Coco met the greatest artists of the time; from Picasso to the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, resulting in many unforgettable artistic liaisons. Misia would later claim that she had suggested that Coco try perfumes. We all know what happened next: the creation of Chanel No. 5.

I believe true friends embrace each other’s darker side. “I was attracted by her genius, sarcasm and maniacal destructiveness,” Misia would say about Coco. They would go on crazy road trips together, like Thelma and Louise avant la lettre, causing scandal everywhere they went. Were they lovers? Probably. It would have fit the passionate and playful nature of their friendship. They were certainly loyal. In 1950, Chanel buried the blind and impoverished 78-year-old Misia, former ‘Queen of Paris’. She laid out her friend’s body on a bed of flowers, a work of art till the very end. Best Friends Forever…

Inspired by the passion and play of female friendships, I designed a delightfully naughty lingerie set: MISIA loves COCO. Click if you dare!

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