Monday, 26 October 2015

Mademoiselle Privé

It seems fitting that the next blog post after my Little Black Dress post should be about the Chanel exhibition. The Mademoiselle Privé exhibition is now in its final week at the Saatchi Gallery in London, so on Sunday morning I decided to pay a visit. I got there 15 minutes before the gallery opened at 10am, but still had to wait a good hour before I got in - be warned, the queues are very long. The upside of the long wait was that I got to indulge in some top quality people watching. Mostly fashion types checking out bags and giving each other the side eye - highly entertaining!


I'd describe Mademoiselle Privé as a cross between a fashion exhibition and an art installation. It's described as "a journey through the origins of CHANEL's creations, capturing the charismatic personality and irreverent spirit of Mademoiselle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld." But despite being spread over three floors, there was next to no information to read - it was very much a visual experience. 


An illustrated version of Chanel herself appears amongst the displays in the first couple of rooms as moving footage (see below), which was quite charming.






These rooms also focus on Chanel's early stint as a milliner and her visits to Scotland where she was inspired to design her jersey sportswear. 







Other rooms focused on her famous perfume and the "Bijou de Diamonds" - Chanel's one and only high jewellery collection which she created in 1932. 


Personally I didn't think there were nearly enough garments on display, and those that were exhibited were in darkened rooms lit up by spotlights. Visitors were herded through the Haute Couture and Jewellery rooms at quite a brisk pace, which was frustrating as I really wanted to spend more time studying the dresses. 


These rooms were also policed by security guards who gave you a good telling off for ventured too closely to the displays. This made it really difficult to see any detail in the garments and almost impossible to see the jewellery. 


At first glance, I thought the criss cross effect on the dress above was a fabric design. It was only when I got closer that I realised the dress was made up of hundreds of tiny ribbons of crepe sewn together. 



It was exquisite and I would have LOVED to have examined it in more detail, sadly it wasn't to be - I got a stern telling off just for standing close enough to take this photo!

One of the highlights of the exhibition for me was a ten minute movie showing the ghost of Chanel (portrayed by Geraldine Chaplin) visiting the modern day Chanel HQ and having a full blown argument with Karl Lagerfeld! It really made me laugh!

The exhibition was free, which I do appreciate, but I would have been equally happy to pay an admission fee and spend a bit more time examining the frocks! Grumbling aside, everything I did see was a feast for the eyes and I'm pleased I went. I was also given a free tote bag and poster, which was very generous! If you're a Chanel fan I do think it's worth making the effort to go and visit.

Mademoiselle Privé is on at the Saatchi Gallery, London, and runs until 1st November. Further details can be found here

16 comments:

  1. That dress is just amazing. I would have wanted to examine it a bit more closely too. By coincidence, I'm reading The Pink Suit at the moment.

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    1. Ah I loved that book so much! x

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  2. We braved the queues this weekend too and agree that it would have been nice to get closer to the dresses. Did you use the app as you went round? I thought that helped bring the exhibition to life more, and it gave the commentaries to the pieces. I don't think they really explained how important the app was, my OH didn't use the app and didn't get as much from the exhibition ... But then again I don't think it was his number 1 way of spending the weekend anyway!

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    1. No, I couldn't download the app on my phone unfortunately. It's a shame as I probably would have got more from the exhibits with the additional commentary. The fact that the app was so essential to the exhibition is quite telling - a sign of things to come! I'm just a luddite, I still like reading things as I go round! x

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  3. I went last week with a friend who wouldn't que, so planning on heading there tomorrow - ready to wait. Loved the garden feel to the entrance.

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    1. Ah good luck, hope you didn't have to wait too long. I agree, the garden bit was lovely! x

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  4. I visited London last week and went. I totally agree with your post. Not enough time to get a really good look at garments (I too got told to stay back!) and it was so dark and most of the garments were dark in color. All in all, I did enjoy the exhibit and glad I went. I found the queue moved pretty quickly.

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    1. Yes, exactly the same for me! I didn't mind being in the queue either, some of the fashion talk was hilarious! x

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  5. i caught the movie "coco" on a flight and was blown away by the scene of her fashion show on the stairs. i really only thought "jacket" until i saw that parade! these dresses are gorgeous, i think i might have fought with the herding staff...

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    1. The dresses were breathtaking. Might have to check out that movie, thanks! x

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  6. I was interested to read your review because despite my best endeavours I didn't get there in the end...never mind. Have you read Justine Picardie's biography 'Coco Chanel-the Legend and the Life' from a couple of years ago? it's a fascinating and enlightening read. Highly recommended

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    1. Thanks Susan. Yes, I have read it - it was recommended by the curator at the Fashion & Textile Museum after a haute couture talk I went to once. Very enlightening! x

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  7. Paying for it makes no difference. Went to a similar exhibition in NYC some years ago. It was a cattle call. We got hustled through and the crowd was so thick that we could not get close enough to be reprimanded. We left and asked for our money back. They gave it without complaint.

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    1. Ah what a shame. They should use the same system the V & A uses - they have timed slots, that way there are fewer people for each slot and you really get to have a good look at the exhibits. x

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  8. Jane lucky you just to be there. I was longing to get to this exhibition, sadly it was not to be. I am however planning on a Liberty trip at the textile and fashion museum soon! have you been yet?
    best Ashley x

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    1. I know, I do feel lucky! I haven't been to the Liberty exhibition yet but am definitely planning a trip, let me know when you're going. x

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