Friday, 6 November 2015

Inside: Chanel's Mademoiselle Privé

Last week, my sister and I hopped on the train to Sloane Square for the Coco Chanel Exhibition, Mademoiselle Privé, at the Saachi gallery. But prior to being surrounded by million dollar jewellery and ornately beautiful dresses, our tummies were rumbling and we were hungry for lunch; nothing a quick stop at Polpo wouldn't solve! Click below to see more.

The menu is insanely irresistible. With everything jumping out at us, we finally decided what to have. We chose the spinach, Parmesan and soft egg pizza, grilled lamb and caponata, spicy pork and fennel meat balls and foccacia. To quench our thirst, we had a beautiful prosecco and ginger cocktail - the perfect autumnal drink.

The idea of Polpo is to have lots of small dishes to share and delve into. Whether you're on your own and want to try lots of different but equally delicious plates, or want to share with friends and family, Polpo is the perfect hot spot.

I'm currently in love with this little ensemble. It's so comfortable, great for lots of occasions and an embodiment of my style.

Get the look:
  1. Jumper - Topshop
  2. Denim skirt - Topshop
  3. Brogues - Topshop
  4. Waistcoat - Topshop
  5. Bag - Warehouse

...I'm a clear fan of Topshop!

After queuing for almost two hours, we were finally in! The exhibition explored the creativity of both Chanel's eponymous founder, Gabrielle, known as Coco, and its current creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, who claimed his position only twelve years after Coco's death.

Named for the sign that Coco placed on the door of her atelier in order that she could work undisturbed, Mademoiselle Privé is a 3-D feast for the senses. A complementary app allowed visitors to experience another layer of visual delights - with one plainly dressed room displaying Coco's Rue Cambon apartment when viewed through the app, while others offered up quotes and facts on the lady herself - each room referencing an element crucial to the creativity of the house's two designers.

The first room we entered was inspired by Coco Chanel's apartment. The stairs, the flowers, the clean lines. It was beautifully bright and fresh.

Check out my instagram here.

Then, we were plunged into a plethora of moving monochromatic illustrations and elegant hats. This room gave a great insight into the inspirations of Coco Chanel.

"I didn't go out becuase I needed to design dresses, I designed dresses precisely because I went out, because I have lived the life of the century and was the first to do so"

Below, is the next room. It was pitch black with the writing on one wall, and the arch on the other. It felt captivating, still and eerie. It was beautiful!

Now on to my favourite: the Chanel No.5 room. I felt I was inside of a re-make of a Willy Wonka factory. The room, scented with the rich tones of the iconic Chanel No.5, told the story of how the perfume was created, and how it quickly became the perfume for a woman to own. The 'factory-style' room was packed with bubbling vats - the lids of which lifted without warning to reveal the fragrance, and sometimes surprising colour, inside.

I learnt that there are roughly 80 elements that make up the perfume and it was the first to be named after a fashion designer. Trust Chanel to create something so revolutionary and detailed.

One of the first ever bottles of Chanel No.5. Hidden away in a safe glass box, the bottle was tiny , so small that one had to almost squint to see it!

Both Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld are inspired by 18th century French gardens. They were intricate, ornate and cut into geometric shapes. These intertwining gardens actually inspired Chanel's brand logo, the interlocking 'C' design. The quietest and most contemplative final room recreated a neat French garden - a sensory phenomenon with its fresh-scented real box hedges and meandering double 'C' pathways.

On the floor above, workshops hosted by Chanel artisans including Lesage teach skills from embroidery to camellia-making and perfume blending - allowing visitors to dip a toe into the creativity they've witnessed. I really regret not booking one of these, especially as I study textiles for A-Level.

Upstairs, the clothes themselves were brought to life, firstly in the haute couture space - where the most delicate of dresses were placed on mannequins suspended on bright poles of light - allowing visitors to see the embroidery and workmanship that goes into every piece. Next door, we revisit Chanel's work with what she said represented "the greatest value in the smallest volume": diamonds.

Only a few pieces remain from the original Bijoux de Diamants High Jewellery collection, but the entire offering had been recreated for Mademoiselle Privé, displayed on couture-clothed mannequins. The jewellery was originally set to be displayed in London in 1932, but stopped due to stringent British customs regulations, it is finally unveiled after 83 years.

The garments aswell as the jewellery were so beautifully captivating. I think most people just stood at each mannequin gazing at the detail for a good half an hour. However, due to the expense of the garments and the diamonds, we weren't allowed to get very close or an alarm would go off!

Along the walls lined black and white images of celebrities, both icons and inspirations for Chanel designs but also one of the high-profile gamblers who featured at Chanel's most recent couture show. For Lily-Rose Depp to Lily Collins to Keira Knightley, their portraits were equally entrancing.

Hidden behind thick, heavy and luxurious curtains was a film, made by and starring Karl Lagerfeld. The humorous short film depicted Coco Chanel in modern day, criticising Lagerfeld's work and the changes he had made on the Chanel brand.

It was a truly magnificent exhibition, and a great day in general. I'm so sad the exhibition was over as I probably would have gone twice! I hope that soon, Chanel will create another exhibition like this as it was probably the best one I've ever been to.

Have a good weekend!


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