View all Lifestyle in Issue C


My Chanel make-up gets treated entirely differently to that of any other brand in my possession. It’s terrible to say so, but if my cosmetics were children then Chanel would be the spoilt child with her own palatial room – the others would be squashed into the broom cupboard along with a jumble of dried-up mascara wands and bent hair-grips.

I can’t put my finger on precisely why Chanel gets treated so royally; I have other children – I mean brands – who are as expensive, as glossy, as chic. Lipsticks with enamel cases, gold-plated powder compacts, eyeshadow palettes with dainty engraving and filigree lids – none of them are placed in the First Class carriage along with Chanel. They endure the indignity of the cattle-class melee, along with lidless, garish kohl pencils and bubblegum glosses.

There sits Chanel in her cool, spacious drawer – the bottom and sides lined in fragranced paper, a full wardrobe of velvety sleeves and pouches to keep her looking dignified and chic. Not like the grubby children next door – coated in a fine layer of brown powder that has burst from an open pot of pigment, here and there tarnished with a glob of squashed kohl pencil. Chanel’s compacts are glossy and black, gently scented with rose, they are wiped clean after use and placed back into their velveteen envelopes. In the next drawer along, compacts costing twice the price can be heard crying out to be retrieved from the rumpus – their shells scratched by mangled eyelash curlers, their contents smashed by the overly-boisterous children who jump in on top of them. Still I can’t find it in my heart to lift them out and carry them over the threshold, pluck them from the riotous mass and set them down in the under-populated land of Chanel.

There’s something about Chanel that sets her apart from even the most luxurious of contenders.  Perhaps it’s that I longed for her for so many years – she was in my sights before I had even left my teens. I would go to the counter and tap my nails along her shiny black casing, dip my fingers into pots of perfumed creams, spritz fragrances into the air. Her guardians, the manicured keepers of the counter, would glare and silently move product back into place, like pieces on a chess-board. I wanted Chanel for years after that – and I got her, but the adoption process was by no means plain-sailing. The first time I brought her home, it was from the airport. A scarlet-red lipliner and a nail polish in a wishy-washy pink – two treasures to be placed in the drawer and never used. Brought out to look at – but there was no interaction, no exquisite bonding. The second time, we met in New York. It was a blusher – pale, sugary pink. Perfect pink, but not for a hot and humid New York summer – into the cool, quiet drawer it went and Chanel and I still did not manage to forge a relationship. In fact, I’ve had more than my fair share of bad buys from Chanel – shades that haven’t suited me, textures that have been, let’s say, a ‘learning curve’ – yet she’s still my number one child. Every new little box is a bundle of joy, something to be cherished – a guilty pleasure, a luxury itch that can be scratched in the space of a lunch-break.

Perhaps that’s why I love her – there’s nothing else so instantly satisfying, so completely uplifting as the famous double ‘C’s.

And I know the question on all of your lips: who’s the Daddy? Why, Tom Ford, of course. But that’s a whole other love story.

FEATURE/Ruth Crilly
ILLUSTRATIONS/Michalis Christodoulou

Limited editions prints available to buy.  Contact Michalis Christodoulou

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