May 13, 2011

Coco Chanel Lamp posts

Visit the City of Westminster and you'll be taken away by the sheer 'grandness' of it all; the architecture, the history, the culture, the tradition...But look a little closer and you'll see that London has a very well kept love story and fashion secret.

Legend has it that the second Duke of Westminster, Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, was so love-struck by Mademoiselle 'Coco' Chanel back in the late Twenties after they met at a party in Monte Carlo in 1925, that he ordered all the lampposts in Westminster to be adorned with her initials, alongside an ornate W - the Duke's crest. Poor old Hugh was left heartbroken when, despite his extravagant gesture, Chanel turned his proposal of marriage down saying: "There have been several Duchesses of Westminster, there is only one Chanel". 

Although their relationship did not produce the heir that Bendor desperately sought, it did create something of significance, of which ghostly traces still remain. The double Cs embossed upon the old lampposts are a final emblem of the Duke's gesture towards Coco Chanel, a silent mark of their union, and of the melding of British tradition with French couture, in a style all of its own. 

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