Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel is one of the pioneering fashion designers the world still remembers. From her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to her final collection in 1971, Coco Chanel has revolutionized the fashion industry with her disruptive designs and bold attitude. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A) is to stage the first UK exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, charting the evolution of her iconic design style and the establishment of the House of CHANEL. Featuring over 180 looks seen together for the first time and jewelry, accessories, cosmetics, and perfumes, the exhibition will explore Chanel’s pioneering approach to fashion design, which paved the way for a new feminine elegance and continues to influence the way women dress today.
Chanel designed first and foremost for herself. Creating clothes that are fit for an independent and active lifestyle, she anticipated the needs and wants of the modern woman. Director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt, said: “As one of the most successful fashion houses in existence, Chanel owes much to the templates first laid down by its founder Gabrielle Chanel, over a century ago. We are delighted to be partnering with Chanel and the Palais Galliera on this The exhibition 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.”
Based upon the Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto exhibition organized by the Palais Galliera, Fashion Museum of the City of Paris, the exhibition will be reimagined for the V&A and feature rarely seen pieces from the V&A’s collection, alongside looks from Palais Galliera and the Patrimoine de CHANEL, the heritage collections of the fashion house in Paris. Key works on display will include outfits created for British model Anne Gunning (later Lady Nutting) and Hollywood stars Lauren Bacall and Marlene Dietrich.
The exhibition will explore Chanel’s innovative approach to fabric, silhouette, and construction through eight themed sections and examine how she drafted a new framework for fashion in the twentieth century. Showcasing a stunning array of some of Chanel’s most notable designs from her 60 years in fashion, the exhibition analyses her professional career, her style’s emergence and development, and her contribution to fashion history. The presentation will also highlight Chanel’s British inspirations, such as her adoption of tweed as well as other British-made textiles.
Director of the Palais Galliera, Miren Arzalluz, said: “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.”
“Her success was based not only on the functionality, comfort, and chic elegance of her designs but also on her ability to grasp and interpret the needs and desires of the women of her time.”
The exhibition Gabrielle Chanel – Fashion Manifesto will run from 16 September 2023 to 25 February 2024, and the ticket details will be announced soon.