China Dolls, Rocker, Red Lipstick… Chanel!
(**All photos and text by Susan M. Kirschbaum)
“What are you doing at a Chanel lipstick party?” a journalist named Jada asks rocker-poet-artist Patti Smith, who sits demurely in a corner at the Mark Hotel in tailored black ensemble and ski cap as she waits for her date for the evening, French actress-singer Vanessa Paradis.
“Well Chanel is one of the great houses.” Patti answers politely. “I’m here for Vanessa.”
“Do you wear lipstick?” asks Jada.
“No, I don’t wear any makeup.” Patti says. “I don’t like anything touching my lips.”
“Do you wear Chanel clothing?” asks Jada.
“Yes, I wear Chanel.” says Patti, who confided in me earlier that as a girl she cut out pages of Vogues and collected fashion images. “Fashion is an art form.” She tells me, an aside from the questioning Jada.
Luckily, to save Patti from more inane inquiry, as the clock strikes 9 pm, the lovely doll-like creäture of Paradis arrives and seems genuinely warmed to see her friend waiting for her at a red lit corner nook. Paradis is the face of thirty gloriously creamy scented lipsticks that Chanel is introducing, to copy shades that dame Coco herself had worn: Coco who advised to never leave home without your lipstick, lest you run into a hot man.
Paradis herself scored the hottest man on the planet, actor Johnny Depp. I should have asked her if lipstick accounted for the “coup de foudre” (French for lightening bolt of love.) But I refrain from asking artists such asinine things.
Smith had just left Depp in Los Angeles, as the two have teamed up to shoot a documentary on Stones guitarist and Depp’s pal, Keith Richards. Thus, Smith’s connection and friendship with Paradis, which I would also guess grounds itself in a solid interest in writing, ideas, the bigger picture. Paradis and Depp stick to themselves and could be counted as private intellectuals in terms of red carpet appearances. Chanel’s intimate cocktail and dinner at the Mark proved an exceptional public outing for Paradis, who was ultimately surrounded by socialites, Irina, the model (chic in all black Chanel), fun photog Terry Richardson, the stylist Rachel Zoe, and a few jolly fey boys.
As for Chanel, economic statistics have proven that women buy more lipstick in times of war and economic downturn.
Thus, I predict great things for Rouge Coco Chanel.
Purple Magazine’s Olivier Zahm poses dreamily into the distance as Patti Smith jots some notes for him