Sometimes, imagination can be stronger than reality and that certainly was the case for the legendary Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel. She had never visited Russia, but the country's influence can be felt in many of her creations. You can even see it in her home, where a large mirror with a sculpted frame featuring a two-headed eagle of imperial Russia served as an anchor of her living space at 31 rue Cambon.
"The Russians fascinate me,” Chanel once said to her friend, French author Paul Morand. This curiosity was largely informed by her relationships, including a romance with the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, the cousin of Tsar Nicholas II. According to the maison, Chanel had known the Grand Duke since 1911; they met again in Biarritz almost a decade later and had "a brief and intense affair". He and her other artistic Russian friends are credited for having introduced Chanel to a new universe and motifs that would permeate her design language.