Chanel Couture in London

Recently, London has been a hub for fashion exhibitions. First, it was Louis Vuitton’s Series 3 show and now Chanel has opened its secretive doors to the public for a free exhibition of the designer house.

Mademoiselle Privé, an exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London held until this Sunday, is a journey through the origins of Chanel’s creations capturing the charismatic personality and irreverent spirit of Mademoiselle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld.

‘Chanel has commissioned landscape designers Harry and David Rich to create a unique seasonal English garden at Saatchi Gallery for Mademoiselle Privé. A homage to Gabrielle Chanel’s life, the garden is divided into three parts: ‘Liberty’ evoking her passion for freedom; ‘Boy Chapel’ the love of her life; and ‘Leo’ her astrological star sign and a symbol of her strength.
Through physical and virtual recreations, downloadable through an app, Coco Chanel is brought to life; her Parisian flat, first boutique and trips to Scotland, where she was inspired for her tweed jackets and skirt suits. Couture gowns by Lagerfeld and re-edition of Coco Chanel’s jewellery collection designed in 1932 are on display. “Normally I don’t take care of Chanel jewellery, but they asked me to do something special for this collection” Karl Lagerfeld stated. Lagerfeld has also written a film where he imagines an encounter with Coco Chanel, which I think is a mockery of the important legacy of the brand and Coco Chanel herself, making Karl Lagerfeld seem superior to her. One can stroll through a maze of fabric swatches from the Chanel atelier as well as walking around bubbling cauldrons which open to reveal the ingredients of the Chanel No.5 perfume, the first fragrance bearing the name of the designer. Lagerfeld has been credited to bringing freshness and modernity to the label, keeping it contemporary and desirable to the younger market, while faithful to its heritage; “When I started at Chanel, everybody told me ‘Don’t touch it, it is finished’ and that amused me. It was like a challenge and it worked a 100 times better than I could have imagined.” Without the app, the exhibition is just rooms filled with pretty images, and clothes, that is not very informative to the fashion educated spectator. Overcrowded and uninformative, the show was a nice insight into the house of Chanel, if you are not really interested in fashion.
Thankfully, the exhibition was the perfect location for the exhibition. The gallery in the Duke of York Square is right at the start of the King’s Road in Chelsea so between the shops and coffee breaks, for lunch, Aimilia and I tried a newly opened Asian restaurant, Kurobuta, that I have been told to go, by some friends who live near by. Plate after plate we left satisfied with the exquisite tastes of sushi, prawns and pork.
On another night in London, we went to Hotel Chantelle, a New York City restaurant with a nightlife concept that launch in London earlier this year. With its first international expansion, Hotel Chantelle brings its ‘inventive and whimsical’ menu, and a garden restaurant to the heart of London. Located next to Selfridges and a late night opening, it’s the perfect place for a pre-night out feast or hangover American brunch. Despite the hour wait for our table reservation to be finally ready, our cocktails were on the house, the waiters, barmen and hostesses were very kind and apologetic, the food was delicious.
Danced through the extra hour ‘of sleep’ at Elysee Club in Fitzrovia to the Greek music of top DJ Master Tempo.
Sundays are family days. My cousin and I took her boys to Camden Market where we bought vintage toy cars for the kids, got inspired for Halloween costumes and strolled through the crowds to York and Albany for lunch.
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