Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Karl Lagerfeld has once again drawn on the allure of a vintage motorcycle for Chanel's advertising.  Last Spring he used the amazing 'Chanel' Triton  as a prop in his short and quizzical film about , it seemed, the joy of shoplifting Chanel clothes on a cool bike (see the video here).

Yesterday in Paris, Keira Knightley was spotted on a rolling rig, 'riding' a '74 Ducati 750 Sport, which had been painted tan to match her suede catsuit and Ruby helmet.  While the Duc's tan paint job made me lose my Chianti, I was curious about the color of the helmet, so spoke with Jerôme Coste of Les Ateliers Ruby, who explained:
                                       (note Keira's body double in the background)

"Regarding the Chanel commercial, I don't know every detail yet, but I can tell you that this helmet is the Ruby 'Belvedere Marceau' from my Autumn-Winter 2009/10 collection. The story is quite funny - at least to me - as this helmet with its "nude" colour was a tribute to Yves Saint-Laurent's work (the Maison YSL has been for years been located on rue Marceau, hence its name).  It was created beside the 'Pavillon Cambon', named after the long time address of Maison Chanel - but that was a powder pink. Anyway Keira's is a stock helmet, but the story doesn't say if Chanel cut Kiera's suede catsuit and painted the Ducati to match the Ruby helmet nude colour ?!"

By chance, well-known blogger and motorcycle personality Jacqui van Ham (of 'The Vintage Advantage') passed through San Francisco today on a long motorcycle journey from her home in Kentucky to Los Angeles, and back, via Sturges and Bonneville, on her trusty 1972 BMW R75/5 'Toaster Tank'.  Jacqui qualifies as a Real Rider, putting up serious mileage on a vintage motorcycle - solo - and always manages to look great despite the heat, dirt, and bugs of a long ride with an open-face helmet...also a Ruby.  A light bulb went off in my head - wouldn't it be fun to match her black helmet and riding gear with a black 1974 Ducati 750 café racer?

No big crew, nothing to advertise, but Jacqui is a real motorcyclist, who looks terrific with the Ducati.  The Keira Knightley photo shoot will surely become an alluring fantasy in Chanel print ads...

...but Keira can't ride....

...while women who can and do, like Jacqui, rock my world.

[A note on the  black Ducati; its a 1974 750 GT which has been tuned past 'Sport' spec with Venolia pistons and 36mm Dell'Orto carbs, with twin Scarab discs up front, 750 Sport seat, rearsets, clip-ons, controls, and instruments, with a Laverda SFC fairing.  It used to be mine, is an excellent fast roadster, and is currently for sale, contact me if you're interested.

The Chanel bike looks to be an early 750 Sport - ca.'72, with black primary cover - and an SS fairing...painted tan!]

Thanks Jacqui for indulging my inspiration in the middle of your road trip!