Pillbox Hats & PearlsCoco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike (Photos)Lori-Lee Emshey09.05.13Pillbox Hats & PearlsCoco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike (Photos)Portraits of the legendary designer, painted by her close friend Marion Pike, open at the London College of Fashion this week. Lori-Lee Emshey09.05.13 8:45 AM ETJeffie Pike Durham ArchiveCoco Chanel: The ExhibitOn September 4, the London College of Fashion unveiled a exhibit, Coco Chanel: A New Portrait. Featuring paintings of the late designer in her atelier by friend and artist Marion Pike, the exhibit highlights Chanel’s style, as well as her close friendship with Pike. Curated by Prof. Amy de la Haye, the show will also feature couture pieces worn by Marion Pike and her daughter Jeffie Pike Durham, and thank-you letters exchanged between the Pikes and Chanel. The retrospective runs through Novermber 16. Marion Pike, photographed by James Chou/Jeffie Pike DurhamA Portrait for the ArtistMarion Pike first met Chanel in 1967, when she was commissioned to paint a large-scale portrait of the designer. This painting, one of the earlier ones from 1967, is of Chanel on a balcony in Switzerland. Chanel and the California-based artist soon became close friends, and their relationship led to numerous paintings between 1967 and 1971. Marion Pike, photographed by James Chou/Jeffie Pike DurhamNo Thanks, PicassoChanel is painted in her atelier in Paris. Although Pablo Picasso offered to paint Chanel's portrait, the designer instead chose Pike, who was known for her exuberant use of color. Chanel allowed Pike to sketch her while she worked, so the artist could create the paintings in her own time. Marion Pike, photographed by James Chou/Jeffie Pike DurhamIn Her AtelierPike completed this seated portrait of Chanel in 1968. While Pike's primary focus wasn't fashion, she became known for wearing Chanel's designs when she wasn't painting and regularly received pieces of clothing from Coco's closet. Marion Pike, photographed by James Chou/Jeffie Pike DurhamDetails of Coco ChanelThe Big Head portrait is one of Pike's signature works, with "big" referring to both the physical size of the painting—it's 8 feet high and 5 feet wide—and the energy and emotion captured in the painting. Jeffie Pike Durham ArchiveCanvas and CoutureIn addition to painting, Pike also took snapshots of Chanel, like this one of the designer seated in front of her extensive collection of books in 1967. Jeffie Pike Durham ArchiveA Friendship BeginsChanel and Pike were introduced through mutual friend and Broadway producer Frederick Bresson. When they first met, Chanel saw Pike's sketches and called her "a true artist." Jeffie Pike Durham ArchiveSnapshotsPike and Chanel are captured laughing together at her lake house in Lausanne. Jeffie Pike Durham ArchiveBorrowed ColorsPike painted another Big Head portrait—this time of soprano Licia Albanese—in the 1950s. After completing this type of signature piece, Pike would "recharge" by painting oversize, floating flowers. Jeffie Pike Durham ArchiveJeffie Pike DurhamChanel hides behind Pike's daughter, Jeffie Pike Durham, and her longtime friend Serge Lifar.