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Gabrielle Chanel – Fashion manifesto

In 2019, the Victora & Albert Museum had great success with the exhibition Dior – Designer of dreams. Now it’s a new, iconic designer’s turn to fill the museum with fashion fans. This time, it’s Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

The exhibition sold out only a couple of weeks after it had opened, but it is possible to see it if you become a member. The membership lasts for one year and you can go and see the exhibition as many times as you want, no booking needed or extra payment.

The exhibition is primarily about Gabrielle Chanel. About her life, from childhood to death, and how she built up the fashion house Chanel. It is an interesting and beautiful exhibition, but there is limited information about who she really, as there is limited space. She was a complicated woman, there is still a lot we don’t know about her.

Since we are in London, emphasis is also placed on her relationship with England. Both privately, like her relationship with the Duke of Westminster, but also professionally. In the 1930s, she established British Chanel Ltd, which produced her designs in British fabrics. 

It was important for the curator, Oriole Cullen, to include Chanel’s role during World War II. It is well documented that she socialised and collaborated with Germans in occupied Paris, but a document showing that she was a member of the French Resistance is also exhibited. This is supported by official records. 

Here is a small sneak peak of the exhibition.

Blouse in silk jersey from 1916.
Summer clothes from the 1920s
Dress and coat from 1955
The iconic 2.55 bag in three variants
The document confirming that Chanel was part of the French Resistance.
A small selection of Chanel jewellery
Chanel’s tweed suits are world famous, but she also made more glamorous sets.
The first Chanel perfume.
Dress from 1961

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