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.
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.