Welcome to the wonderful world of Chanel is exactly how this iconic luxury brand makes you feel as you step onto the grounds of Saatchi Gallery and venture through a garden designed by the Rich Brothers, gold winners of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
And when you step into the first room with your Mademoiselle Privé visitors app open on your phone, you will find yourself standing in Gabrielle Chanel’s Rue Cambon apartment. You are transported in time and place as you are also greeted by the reconstruction of the mirrored staircase above Chanel’s salon.
The Chanel story begins at the start of Gabrielle Chanel’s career as a milliner …
… You also learn about her studio days. Mademoiselle Privé was the sign she hung on her atelier’s door.
But the exhibition that has taken over three floors of the Saatchi Gallery doesn’t stay in the past. It moves forward into the present day with a fabulous short film in which Karl Lagerfeld reminds Chanel’s ghost (played by Geraldine Chaplin) that he has to create eight collections a year whereas she only had to create two a year. It’s a humorous flick but it also has an interesting message that reminds us of the relevance of the Chanel brand: Gabrielle Chanel created the notes and Karl Lagerfeld makes the music. Gorgeous portraits adorn an entire room. Ironically last week I finally managed to frame my poster from the Little Black Jacket exhibition a few years ago, which I absolutely adore. It’s going up in my office as a daily dose of style inspiration. You’ll find the Vanessa Paradis portrait (below) at Mademoiselle Privé.
And along with the displays on each floor, there are also workshops including one that explores the secrets of Chanel No. 5. These futuristic vats (below) contain each of the ingredients for Chanel’s signature scent.
On the first floor an inside garden of manicured hedges fills the air with fresh aroma, which you don’t expect from the first floor of an art gallery.
Couture displays and more give us the chance for an up close and personal look at the craftsmanship of Chanel. Not only can we appreciate the details on the outside of these gowns but the fluorescent rods on which they hang also give us an insight into the details inside each dress.
Since The Little Black Jacket exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, fashion houses have been using art spaces to show off the creativity of their brands more and more. Most recently and locally we’ve seen the fabulous McQueen exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum as well as the Hermès awe-inspiring Wanderland exhibition at Saatchi Gallery. I’d been wondering what Chanel were planning on doing next. How were they planning to keep up? But after a walk around Mademoiselle Privé, I can safely say that keeping up clearly wasn’t what they were going for. Staying ahead of the game? Yes, definitely.
To get the full experience of the exhibition, download the app on iTunes or Google Play.
Mademoiselle Privé runs until 1st November 2015 and it’s free.