The Ladybug, Coco Chanel and Marion Pike: Last Chance Meeting in Milan

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You know me, sliding in on the final days of an expo, as usual…! I’d love to go early enough to give you the time to visit the expos, but I am always so freaking busy that I often forget until my calendar screams, “HEY, you’re gonna miss that thing you wanted to go to!,” and I organize a quick visit on the very last day!!

This time I invited my beloved friend Nita to accompany me to the expo and she invited me to a delicious Chinese lunch before heading to Palazzo Morando to visit the small but intense “Coco Chanel: A New Portrait Painting by Marion Pike. Paris, 1967-71.” After the inauguration to the public – at the Fashion Space Gallery; the exhibition, curated by Amy de la Haye, Professor of Dress, History and Curatorship of the London College of Fashion, arrived in Milan for a few months (Sunday was the last day!).

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The exhibition showcases a whole set of paintings, clothes, photographs and documents exploring the lives, the friendship and creative meeting between two extremely talented twentieth-century women: the French couturier Coco Chanel and the Californian artist Marion Pike.

“Marion Pike met Coco Chanel in Paris in 1967, when she painted her portrait. The story of their friendship reveals a new dimension of the French fashion designer, known for her charm and revolutionary talent, but also for the determination that accompanied her free and unconventional lifestyle. Hence the meaning of the title “A New Portrait Painted by Marion Pike” or the revelation of Chanel’s most intimate and authentic nature, a poor orphaned child who become a timeless legend that only an intuitive and emotionally involved artist such as Marion Pike could comprehend. In the words of Marion Wesson, grandson of Marion Pike and an artist herself, “it is odd that this exhibition on the works of Cuckoo and Coco has been labeled as the revelation of a new historical situation that no biographer or historian has ever previously recognized or investigated” (

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The exhibition includes beautiful paintings of Coco Chanel, the beloved Paris and even a self-portrait of Marion Pike, along with clothes and accessories specially designed by Coco Chanel in 1967 and 1969 for Marion Pike and her daughter Jeffie and a large collection of photographs by Marion Pike, Coco Chanel and many other characters, as well as personal documents and letters that demonstrate the friendship between the two women.

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