Dandy Portraits in Paris: Massimiliano Mocchia di Coggiola
The one and only Massimiliano Mocchia di Coggiola. The lure of stories I heard about his style, his home, his grand life, brought me to Paris. What an experience it was!
Italian born Massimiliano and his lovely American wife Sorrel gave a warm greeting, and I began to try to take in all the details. Walking into his space I felt the Parisian architecture - the height of the ceiling, the strong sunlight filtering through tall narrow windows, the ornate molding. They talked about how much they loved to throw parties, and I imagined what a fantastic place to come to at night and get lost. One can feel distinctly that living is a fine art for this young couple, and dressing, above all, is the highest art for Massimiliano.
There is a whole room dedicated to Massimiliano's interest in dandyism. As a historian and author he has fantastic collection of rare books and ephemera which share space with his collar pins, cologne, cufflinks, top hats, and at least one powdered wig. I began making portraits, and once we were done with one suit Massimiliano would duck back into his dressing room - which is indeed a whole room filled with clothes - and come out with another more exquisite than the last.
I asked him to show me his oldest book on dandyism: "Du Dandysme et de Georges Brummell" by J. Barbey D'Aurevilly, published in Paris 1879
In the sitting room, a photo of actor Conrad Veidt peeks out from behind layers of assemblage, religious artifacts, feathers and bones.
When Sorrel brought out a tray of coffee served in the most delicate little vintage set, I wished that time would stop so I could always live in that moment.
A gold signet ring bears his family's crest.
Illustrations by Massimiliano hang along side portrait paintings by Sorrel and art collected from various friends.