Coco Chanel and her passion for Coromandel screens

“The first time I saw a Coromandel screen, I cried. I had never felt this way about an object,” said Gabrielle Chanel.

Coco Chanel felt true passion for Coromandel screens, which she began collecting in the 1910s. She had up to 32 of them in her apartments, the most famous one being in Rue Cambon in Paris.

Throughout her career, the fashion designer got a lot of her inspiration from these Coromandel screens to create clothing collections, advertising campaigns, fragrances, watches and fine jewelry.

Gabrielle Chanel admired poets, actors, sculptors and painters, and this admiration led her to be a famous patron and an avid art collector. She got acquainted with artists such as Picasso, Dalí, Sert, Man Ray and Cocteau, who greatly influenced Chanel’s style.

In fact, it was José María Sert who guided Chanel in her early years as a collector of paintings, sculptures and decorative objects, such as the Coromandel screens.

These decorative elements are made of wooden panels covered in black lacquer with designs that give texture, richness and narrative. They’re decorated with all sorts of flowers, birds, landscapes and scenes of daily Chinese life, where they’re originally from, despite the name of Coromandel, which is the Indian port from which they were sent out to Europe since the 17th century.

For someone as curious as Chanel, these screens were the perfect instrument to give rein to her imagination. They offer a wide range of possibilities; a screen with folding sheets can transform any space, divide it into different areas, hide things and emphasize others.

What about you? What do screens inspire you and which are your favorite?

ᴛʜᴇ ʙɪᴏᴍʙᴏ • ᴀʀᴛ ʙʟᴏɢ

𝓑𝔂 𝐒𝐚𝐫𝐚 𝐒𝐚𝐧𝐳 𝐀𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐚

Translated by Clak (

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