Gabrielle Chanel, Manifeste de Mode – Review

Finally in Paris the first (and long-awaited) retrospective dedicated to one of the most famous fashion designer of all times: Gabrielle Chanel.

I’ve been waiting for this exhibition since 2017, when I stepped into the Musee des Art Decoratifs to visit the glorious Christian Dior, couturier du reve (now available online on Dior’s YouTube channel). That exhibition was so amazing that I really hoped to have the chance to see something similar dedicated to Chanel, Dior’s fashion antagonist. For once, my expectations were not frustrated.

Gabrielle Chanel, Manifeste de Mode (Gabrielle Chanel, fashion manifesto) is an amazing exhibition housed in the magnificent Palais Galliera, the City of Paris Fashion Museum, which reopens its doors after long renovation works. The elegant building offers a beautiful stage to this extensive exhibition (nearly 1500 square metres and more than 330 pieces) organised in two main sections.

The first part is a chronological “ride” from the beginning to the affirmation of Chanel’s fashion manifesto after 1954, passing through the creation of the iconic little black dress, the 1920s sporty models, the 1930s sophisticated dresses and the difficult years after WWII. On display you can find incredible models (including the famous 1916 marinière!) and one room is devoted to the creation of the signature N° 5, “quintessentially the spirit of Coco Chanel” as you can read on Palais Galliera’s official presentation of the exhibition. You can really appreciate the evolution of Chanel’s chic style and fully understand how she embodied her brand wearing her own creations.

The second section of the exhibition is themed and we are are invited to “decipher her dress codes”: the tweed suit, the two-tone pumps, the 2.55 iconic bag and the fine jewellery…. it’s just a dream in which you can enjoy Chanel timeless elegance.

The pieces are from the Palais Galliera collections and Patrimoine de Chanel and international museums including The Victoria & Albert Museum, the De Young Museum in San Francisco, the Museo de la Moda in Santiago, the MoMu in Antwerp as well as from private collections. The exhibition will close on March 13th 2021. If you have the chance to be in Paris despite this difficult period, remember to book your ticket online in advance on Palais Galliera official website!

If you want to have a conversation about Chanel and the history of fashion in Paris just contact me!

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