A new video is giving a never-before-seen glimpse at the living space of Coco Chanel, ahead of an exhibition of photographs shot by by Fifty Shades of Grey director and artist, Sam Taylor-Johnson, which opens in London today.
Filmed by British Vogue, the footage sees Taylor-Johnson and model Laura Bailey wandering through Mademoiselle Chanel's legendary 31 Rue Cambon home, which is not open to the public and has been left as it was when the iconic designer was alive.
The hallowed mirrored staircase leading up to the apartment
The apartment, which is set above the Chanel store on 31 Rue Cambon, was used by Coco Chanel as an office and entertainment space in the day while she slept across the road at the Paris Ritz at night, until she died in 1971.
Five years ago, Taylor-Johnson was asked to photograph the private apartment for the designer's biography and in the new video she discusses her personal experiences in it.
"The idea of going into shoot the apartment was something off for me because I had never really photographed something empty or an interior," said Taylor-Johnson.
"So I went along wondering 'why I was going to do it' and 'what was I going to find' and within minutes of being in there I felt like a detective at work."
The white satin-covered bergère on which Chanel was photographed by Horst in 1937
Taylor-Johnson's photograph of the chair
"I was discovering things around the apartment that started to reveal and make sense of who she was as a person and what Chanel became as a brand."
"All her decisions were very spiritual and very mystical," she added. The apartment is filled with tables covered in crystal balls and scattered tarot cards, opulent interiors, and animal sculptures from a bird cage to two large deers.
The artist told Vogue, "The light is so perfect there - it was so majestic and magical. Sometimes photographing people is like pulling teeth, trying to get some sort of personality, and (Chanel) wasn't even there and there was oodles of personality."
Treasured objects, like crystal balls and pairs of animals and neatly arranged throughout the home
The idea of a standalone exhibition of Taylor-Johnson's photographs was born after Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld suggested they should feature in a tome of their own.
Titled Second Floor, the show at London's Saatchi gallery features 34 images, starting from the hallowed mirrored staircase leading up to the apartment.
"The apartment is beautifully stylish. It feels like she had meticulously chosen every object," said Taylor-Johnson.
Rock-crystal chandeliers grace the ceilings
Watch the full sneak peak inside Coco Chanel's apartment:
Second Floor: The Private Apartment Of Mademoiselle Chanel is open at the Saatchi Gallery from 12 September to 4 October.