By Elizabeth Patterson
Never late to the party, Chanel is joining the crowd of fashion houses who are getting their own exhibitions. Mademoiselle Privé will take a look at the house’s evolution from its beginnings under Coco Chanel to its present day interpretations under Karl Lagerfeld.
The sprawling exhibit takes up three floors – perhaps necessary to cover the vast history of a brand that is arguably the most well known luxury brand in the world. Founded in 1909 by Gabrielle Chanel (better known as Coco), the small brand that was known for its use of jersey fabric soon evolved into a giant that developed the famous little black dress, the Chanel suit, and their iconic Chanel No 5 perfume. The death of Coco Chanel in 1971 caused the brand to experience several ups and downs throughout the years, but they achieved stability when Karl Lagerfeld came to its helm in 1983.
Lagerfeld introduced a more diverse yet specific range of ready to wear and accessories, playing with the heritage of the house in new ways. Tweeds, suits, pearls and chains have all been reincorporated into the designs, as well as new ideas that remain true to the brand. The growth and success of the company allowed them to further expand in boutiques and opened the door to new collaborations, like the first Chanel watch. Today, Lagerfeld continues his ingenious innovations, with new bags like the Chanel Boy bag becoming instant hits and modern classics that span generations.
Apart from a history lesson, the exhibit will also feature the brand’s prized gem – their couture collections. In addition to pieces from the archives, new designs created especially for the exhibit by Lagerfeld will be on view. A spotlight will also be directed on the brand’s 1932 “Bijoux de Diamants” fine jewelry collection, which was recently re-issued. The collection is the only jewelry collection created by Coco Chanel.
A must-see for any Chanel die-hard, Mademoiselle Privé will run from October 13th to November 1st at the Saatchi Gallery in London.