An Exhibition Dedicated To The Life And Work Of Coco Chanel Is Coming To The UK

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Photo credit: Apic - Getty Images
Photo credit: Apic - Getty Images

The V&A Museum is preparing to stage a major new exhibition dedicated to the life and work of pioneering designer Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel.

The show, which will be the first UK exhibition of its kind, will chart the evolution of her designs and the establishment of the house of Chanel - from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to the showing of her final collection in 1971.

The exhibition will feature more than 180 looks by the French couturière - the first time they will have all been displayed together - alongside jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and fragrance. It will be loosely based on the Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto exhibition organised by the Palais Galliera in Paris, but reimagined for the V&A. The installation will also feature rarely seen pieces from the V&A's own collection, alongside archive pieces from Chanel's heritage collections - including clothing worn by Hollywood stars like Lauren Bacall and Marlene Dietrich

Photo credit: Peter Kelleher
Photo credit: Peter Kelleher

'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.'

Gabrielle Chanel paved the way for a revolutionary new kind of femininity through her work, the legacy of which continues to inspire and influence the way we dress today. By creating clothes that she herself wanted to wear, she was able to anticipate the wants and needs of the modern, more independent, 20th century woman - seen through her now iconic use of tweed jackets and tailored trousers.

Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

The exhibition will be split into eight themed sections, exploring her innovative approach to fabric, silhouette and construction. It will also explore her professional career, her personal style, and the impact of her work on the fashion industry.

'Gabrielle Chanel boldly redefined the modern women’s wardrobe,' said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel fashion. 'We are honoured and delighted that the V&A, such a world leading museum and great institution, will stage the first UK retrospective of her work. By showcasing her 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.'

Photo credit: Apic - Getty Images
Photo credit: Apic - Getty Images

'Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto' will run from 16 September 2023 to 25 February 2024 at the V&A Museum, London.

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