The trailblazing career of the late designer is celebrated using archival pieces from the House’s history.
To celebrate the life and archival work of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the late French designer who lent her name to one of the most iconic luxury fashion brands of the 20th century, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) invites patrons to view Gabriel Chanel. Fashion Manifesto.
The V&A Museum, which credits itself as offering an environment where “everyone is invited to enjoy the power of creativity,” will present this exhibition on the iconic designer at their London location from September 16, 2023, to February 25, 2024.
The museum describes the exhibit as groundbreaking, expressing that it is “The first UK exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, charting the establishment of the House of CHANEL and the evolution of her iconic design style which continues to influence the way women dress today.”
Chanel, a known powerhouse who consistently designed with the wants and needs of the modern woman in mind, used innovative methods of fabric selection, silhouette design and clothing construction to create garments that flattered the body and promoted a sense of ease and elegance.
“Chanel was a legend in her own lifetime. This exhibition will analyze her contribution to fashion and her radical vision of a style that created modernity and reflected the aspirations of women and the evolution of their place in society,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, President of CHANEL SAS and President of CHANEL Fashion, in a statement.
The exhibition, summarized best as a love letter to Chanel’s previously uncharted approach to style and shape, features over 200 looks. With many items being shown for the first time in a long time, this collection includes clothing, accessories, perfumes and jewelry from the V&A’s own collection, as well as pieces from Palais Galliera and the Patrimonine de CHANEL.
“We are delighted to be partnering with CHANEL and the Palais Galliera on this exhibition, which provides us with the opportunity to explore the origins and elements of this enduring style and to display little-known historic Chanel garments from the V&A collection,” said Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, in a statement.
“Gabrielle Chanel devoted her long life to creating, perfecting and promoting a new kind of elegance based on freedom of movement, a natural and casual pose, a subtle elegance that shuns all extravagances, a timeless style for a new kind of woman.”Miren Arzalluz, Director of the Palais Galliera
The exhibit is organized into ten sections, all of which are specifically designed to showcase Chanel’s unique contributions to the fashion industry and to the lives of women. Going in chronological order, each section will archive a time in Chanel’s career as a designer, define the effects her career had on her personal life and highlight the most memorable pieces produced. These sections include Towards a New Elegance; The Emergance of Style; The Invisible Accessory; Luxury and Line; Closing the House; The Suit; Chanel Codes; Into the Eveening; Costume Jewelry and A Timeless Allure.
In addition to these sections, the exhibition will include some of the House’s notable contributions to the fashion of the Hollywood elite, as well as feature some of the House’s earliest surviving physical designs.
“Gabrielle Chanel devoted her long life to creating, perfecting and promoting a new kind of elegance based on freedom of movement, a natural and casual pose, a subtle elegance that shuns all extravagances, a timeless style for a new kind of woman. That was her fashion manifesto, a legacy that has never gone out of style,” said Miren Arzalluz, Director of the Palais Galliera, in a statement.
Channeling women as essential to the design process, Chanel used her exquisite sense of taste to create a new segment of the fashion industry that put the consumer into center focus. This shift, along with other remarkable feats of design, all cement the designer as one of the most legendary influences on modern style to date.
Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion manifesto at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London opens from September 16th, 2023 to February 25th, 2024.