LONDON — Following the storming success of the “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibition, the Victoria & Albert Museum is banking on fashion once again, with major Chanel exhibition set for September 2023.
“Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto” will be the first U.K. exhibition dedicated to the work of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. It will look to chart the evolution of Chanel’s designs from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910, to the show of her final collection in 1971.
Featuring more than 180 looks seen together for the first time, the exhibition will explore the designer’s democratic, offbeat approach to fashion, which paved the way for a new way of dressing.
The show will also feature jewelry, accessories, cosmetics and perfumes, the latter of which have generated a fortune for the house since they were launched.
Based upon an exhibition of the same name organized by the Palais Galliera in Paris in 2020, the exhibition will be “reimagined for the V&A.” It will feature rarely seen pieces from the London museum’s collection alongside looks from Palais Galliera and the Patrimoine de Chanel, the heritage collections of the fashion house in Paris.
Key pieces on display will include outfits created for British model Anne Gunning (later Lady Nutting) and Hollywood actresses Lauren Bacall and Marlene Dietrich.
Through eight themed sections, the exhibition will explore Chanel’s innovative approach to fabric, silhouette and construction and will examine how she drafted a new framework for fashion in the 20th century, according to the V&A.
It will also highlight Chanel’s British inspirations, such as her adoption of tweed as well as other British-made textiles.
Director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt, said the V&A was “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.”
Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel Fashion and president of Chanel SAS, said that by showcasing the designer’s contribution to the history of fashion, “as well as the incredible relevance and permanence of the Chanel style, this exhibition will highlight one of the greatest visionaries of our time.”
The show will take place with the support of Chanel, and will run from Sept. 16, 2023, until Feb. 25, 2024, at the museum’s Sainsbury Gallery.
Tickets to “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams,” which took place in 2019, sold out less than three weeks after opening, and welcomed more than 100,000 visitors. The show’s run was extended from July until September of that year and was one of the most successful in the museum’s history.
“We knew that ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’ would be popular, but we have been overwhelmed by the phenomenal visitor response to date,” Hunt said in 2019.
The largest and most comprehensive British show on the House of Dior, it was a grand sweep of sparkle, rippling wool, sculpted jackets and floral prints and motifs. It threw light on the designer’s fascination with Britain, his “lines” and defining looks, and his international outlook and inspirations from history.
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