The first UK exhibition dedicated to Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel

Featuring over 200 looks seen together for the first time, along with accessories, perfumes and jewellery, the exhibition explores Chanel’s pioneering approach to fashion design, which created a new elegance that continues to influence the fashion industry today.

The fashion manifesto exhibition will be reimagined by the V&A, which is organized by the Palais Galliera, the Fashion Museum of the City of Paris. Among the looks will be pieces from the V&A’s collection, as well as pieces from the Paris-based Palais Galliera and Patrimoine de CHANEL collections. Among the highlights will be one of Chanel’s earliest surviving garments from 1916; Chanel’s original costumes for the Ballets Russes production of Le Train Bleu in 1924; Lauren Bacall and Marlene Dietrich’s outfits from Chanel’s final collection in 1971; an early example of Chanel’s ground-breaking evening trousers and ensembles from that collection.

Courtesy of Chanel

As a fashion designer, Chanel designed for herself first and foremost. By creating clothes that fit her active and independent lifestyle, she anticipated the needs and desires of modern women. Throughout ten themed sections, this exhibition will examine Chanel’s groundbreaking approach to fabrics, silhouettes, and constructions, and how she revolutionized fashion in the twentieth century.

As well as showcasing some of Chanel’s most notable designs, the exhibition also examines her professional career, the evolution of her style, and her contribution to fashion history. As part of the exhibition, Chanel’s British inspirations will also be emphasized, such as her use of tweed, partnerships with British textile firms, and Huddersfield textile factory.

“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,” said Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A. “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.”

For more details, visit vam.ac.uk

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