Coco Chanel is an icon of fashion design being both a symbol of modernism (at least for her time) and classic design.  So when Susan Cohan challenged me to a design throw-down with Chanel as the inspiration, I happily accepted.

For this garden, I was inspired by the classic taste of Chanel designs, but also by the renowned style wisdom reflected in so many famous quotes by Coco herself.  She was a woman who never wished to be like anyone else and celebrated personal style.  So with this mix, I aimed to take inspiration from some of the elements the define her signature (lots of pearls, comfortable luxury, clean lines, tweed, quilted fabrics, and camellias….and then added in a bit of my own flair….because that is what she would have done).

coco chanel garden design inspiration

The “pop” outdoor sofa from Unica Home was designed by piero lissoni for kartell and I chose it because of the clean lines and obvious luxurious comfort that it provides.  Add to it some cushions in Coco Tweed Outdoor fabric from Cabana Home and I think the eclectic mix will surprise and charm.  The quilted ceramic garden stool was recently featured in Elle Decor (and just as soon as I find it source on line, I will post it right here).   Her famous quilted look reminds me of this woven (but with a distinct quilted vibe) boxwood feature at Washington Old Hall , National Trust, Washington, Tyne and Wear, England (as photographed by eloc).

coco chanel planting

Taking inspiration from Cocos pearls, I choose the String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) and the Allium Karataviense “Ivory Queen”.  In this garden I imagine both of them in copious quantities….huge baskets of pearls and vast swathes white balls.

The clematis and the white tulips are of my own choosing…simple, classic and totally able to stand on their own, they just seemed to fit the scheme.

The White Camellia …need I explain? Coco fans should think it perhaps too obvious.

And finally…for tropical locations, the Ylang Ylang, because this is the soulful scent basis of Chanel No. 5. (image from So Organic, where you can, in the absence of other beautiful garden smells, buy a bottle of Ylang Ylang essential oil to dot here and there)

So there you go, make sure to check out Susan’s take on the Chanel Garden. I personally, am loving how we each came up with mostly differnet versions of the subject.

Do you have an idea and want to have a design throw-down?….feel free to email, or comment with a proposal.

P.S. While I was researching Coco quotes, I came across this one:

Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.
-Coco Chanel

Which didn’t seem wholly appropriate for my boards, but certainly has me thinking about life a bit.  Is the general trend towards a more simple, pure, and of the earth existence as result of our economic times? Yes, I think so, but I do hope it lasts even as we move beyond. What do you think?

And on a house keeping note: It’s decided, The new name of this feature is “Can this be a Garden?  Done.

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