I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.
On July 16th 2018 The Palais Galliera fashion museum in Paris closed for major refurbishment, including the renovation of its previously innaccesible vaulted basement, which once opened will double the size of the exhibition space possible. The work was generously supported by an exclusive sponsorship form the House of Chanel, so it is fitting that the grand re-opening this October 1st will see the first retrospective exhibition dedicated to Gabrielle Chanel herself, titled Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto !
When Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel opened her first boutique in Deauville in 1912, she set out to revolutionize the fashion world with her own vision, which was truly radical marking the beginning of her manifesto. Her first womenswear, incorporated the famous marinière (sailor’s top), using a mix of affordable jersey and tricot, which had only been used for men’s underwear. It was to become a recurring theme in her work, with a desire to liberate the female body from constriction and voyeurism. Aside from reappropriating menswear into her collections, she deconstructed her skirt suits by removing the shoulder pads and strictness, with darts for the bust, and worked with her couture clients to enable them to manoeuvre in their jackets with ease and without exposing their bodies. The Chanel Skirt Suit became, and still is, an iconic staple for the brand.
Two of her most famous creations, the 2.55 shoulder bag, and Chanel No.5 perfume, will be represented in the show, with No.5 given a whole room. The 2.55 is a must-have item for women the world over which when released revolutionised the way that women carried bags. By taking inspiration from army bags, Gabrielle introduced the shoulder strap to high society, giving women back their arms and hands!
She was a force to be reckoned with, and before inventing the LBD – the Little Black Dress – in 1920, Chanel vowed, while observing an audience at the opera, that she would dress all women in black. The LBD is now a staple in all wardrobes, and we couldn’t imagine life without it!
With such a rich legacy and an impact on the fashion industry that continues to this day, Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto promises to be an exhibition not to be missed!