Chanel's Legacy Honored in Major V&A Exhibition About the Pioneering Designer
Chanel Exhibit: Gabrielle Chanel – Fashion Manifesto
London’s prestigious V&A Museum is set to host an unprecedented exhibition celebrating the enduring influence of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Opening on September 16th, 2023, “Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto” provides an in-depth exploration of the designer’s groundbreaking work and the House of Chanel itself.
As the first major Chanel retrospective in the UK, the show honors one of fashion’s greatest visionaries. Over 200 iconic looks will be displayed alongside accessories, beauty products and other archival items. Several rarely-seen pieces from the V&A’s own collection will also be exhibited.
The ambitious installation is loosely inspired by the recent “Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto” exhibition at Paris’ Palais Galliera. However, the V&A is reimagining the concept through its own design lens for a uniquely British homage.
According to Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, “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.”
Indeed, Coco Chanel’s influence permeates the house that still bears her name. The exhibition provides insight into the origins and evolution of the inimitable “Chanel style” – from her first Paris boutique in 1910 to her final 1971 collection.
Organized into thematic sections, the retrospective explores Chanel’s design philosophy through garment construction, fabrics, silhouettes and other elements. Her personal style and professional journey are highlighted to provide context around her innovations.
Chanel boldly bucked tradition in defining modern women’s fashion. Her now-iconic tweed jackets and trousers offered effortless sophistication for new generations of independent, working women.
The exhibition also spotlights how Chanel’s legacy shaped future talents. Archive looks worn by stars like Marlene Dietrich demonstrate her immense Hollywood impact.
Over a century since its founding, Chanel remains a cultural force and the essence of timeless Parisian chic. According to V&A Director Tristram Hunt, this exhibition “provides us with the opportunity to explore the origins and elements of this enduring style.”
For Chanel’s current president Bruno Pavlovsky, the retrospective honors “one of the greatest visionaries of our time.” By showcasing Gabrielle Chanel’s pioneering spirit, the V&A celebrates how her vision revolutionized femininity and fashion itself.
The museum contextualizes Chanel within a pivotal era of shifting gender roles and liberation. Visitors gain appreciation for how her desire to dress women in clothes she would wear herself fostered self-expression and confidence.
This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition offers unprecedented insight into the woman behind the iconic double C’s. Through her revolutionary styles and keen understanding of modern women, Gabrielle Chanel earned her stature as a true fashion manifesto maker.
WANT FASHION NEWS SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX?
Sign up for our ITFI Weekly Insider Newsletter that features weekly fashion jobs and internship opportunities, current industry news and career tips and resources that will help you take action right now.