Douglas Kirkland Shares Coco Chanel Photos, Stories at Melissa Morgan Fine Art

Book captures three-week period with famed designer

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VIDEO: Listen to photographer Douglas Kirkland talk about his experience shooting the legendary Coco Chanel.

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This was his second trip to Paris.

But this one stayed with photographer Douglas Kirkland forever.

The trip lasted three weeks, and Kirkland has chronicled that experience in a recently released book, Coco Chanel: Three Weeks/1962. The book and its images were recently displayed at Melissa Morgan Fine Art gallery in Palm Desert where Kirkland participated in a Q&A session with fellow celebrity photographer Michael Childers and Coachella Valley philanthropist Donna MacMillan.

Kirkland had been with Look magazine a little over a year when he got the assignment to photograph Chanel. Despite their age difference – she was 79 and he was 27 – they found common ground that allowed Kirkland amazing access to photograph her both on the job and off.

"She didn't know who I was," Kirkland says. "She didn't totally trust me at first. So she had me photograph her fashion, her models, at her business in Paris (the photos are in the book). That was the beginning. It changed me because I really grew up a great deal. I realized I had possibilities that I hadn't acknowledged to myself. It was a transition point."

Their relationship, which Kirkland describes like a mother and son, reached a point where Chanel asked him to go on a vacation with her to Switzerland toward the end of the three weeks.

"I thought, 'This is great. I can get more pictures of her.' I really wanted to show the world what her life was like and this just seemed to expand on that," Kirkland says. "I went back and sent a wire to my bosses. 'Isn't this exciting?' I thought they would be very pleased. They sent a very brief reply: 'Story finished. Come home.'"

After the Q&A, Kirkland signed copies of his book provided by Just Fabulous in Palm Springs, which also displayed two other Kirkland books, An Evening with Marilyn and Douglas Kirkland – A Life in Pictures. A limited number of all three books are exclusively available for purchase at the store, 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive,

Visit for more information on Kirkland.


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