Mademoiselle Privé, a new journey to the sprit of Chanel

Chanel made it again.  Following “Little Black Jacket” (2012) and “N°5. Culture Chanel” (2013), the house of Chanel invites us to another journey to the core of the house: Mademoiselle Privé, the exhibition which started on 13th October at Saatchi Gallery in London’s Chelsea area. This time the house focused on three patrimonial elements among others such as high jewelry, haute couture and its iconic fragrance N°5. Why in London? In fact “Les Bijoux de Diamants”, the only one high jewelry collection of diamonds, created by Coco Chanel herself in 1932, was due to be unveiled in London at the time. Yet complicated custom regulation obliged her, even the extremely determined woman, to give up this idea and the presentation was held in Paris instead. Besides, thinking over her personal side, her love of life Boy Capel was a British gentleman. Another forgettable figure among her numerous romances was Duc of Windsor whose “British” men’s wear influence such as tweed, jersey, etc., became key elements for Coco Chanel’s fashion design.

This homage to British inspiration is hinted around the path leading us from the gate to the gallery entrance: A spread of golden leaves animated by birds’ song is the “English garden” designed by landscape designer Harry & David Rich. At the entrance this British mood is blown away and a black and gold Chinese “Coromandel” screen appears in a dim light. Then a change of decoration: Coco Chanel’s super minimalist color palette “black and white”, which was quite particular at her time, brings us to a real journey from one place and time to another. Now we go through emblematic places of Coco Chanel, represented by trompe-loeil drawing walls. What a playful start! Now we are already deep into Chanel’s DNA with much excitement. Following this, a Gulliver version of “Les Bijoux de Diamands” catches us: A giant imitation of diamond comet necklace in a giant bird cage. Before Marilyn Monroe sings that “Diamonds are girl’s best friend”, Coco Chanel described this ultimate stone in a more pragmatic and smart way: “the greatest value in the smallest volume". Yet Lagerfeld wittily reversed the quote of Coco Chanel. Now we know that the show is full of metaphor and Lagerfeld enjoys a dialogue with the ghost of Coco Chanel.

Mademoiselle Privé’s first session at London’s Saatch Gallery will fall curtain on the 1st November. Yet they say that it will pull curtain in another city in the near future. Specially designed mobile app is worth downloading before visiting the exhibition.

http://mademoiselleprive.chanel.com/

  Mademoiselle Prive, the title of the exhibition, is pulled from the atelier’s door of Coco Chanel, who hated being disturbed and wrote “Private” in order to keep her staff away.

Mademoiselle Prive, the title of the exhibition, is pulled from the atelier’s door of Coco Chanel, who hated being disturbed and wrote “Private” in order to keep her staff away.

  Coromandel screen is one of the most important legacy of Coco Chanel’s personal belongings and preciously reserved in the “apartment”, on upper floor of rue Cambon boutique in Paris.

Coromandel screen is one of the most important legacy of Coco Chanel’s personal belongings and preciously reserved in the “apartment”, on upper floor of rue Cambon boutique in Paris.

  Eternal “Mademoiselle” in her suit and canotier hat, immortalized by Karl Lagerfeld.

Eternal “Mademoiselle” in her suit and canotier hat, immortalized by Karl Lagerfeld.

  An elaborated reproduction of the famous mirrored staircases of rue Cambon boutique, where Coco Chanel used to sit down and observe her haute-couture show while it was being held in downstairs.

An elaborated reproduction of the famous mirrored staircases of rue Cambon boutique, where Coco Chanel used to sit down and observe her haute-couture show while it was being held in downstairs.

 Coco Chanel’s key places are represented in 2 dimensions black trompe-loeil drawing on white wall, sometimes decorated by paper-crafted objects and a set of digital screens. Photo opportunity for me!

Coco Chanel’s key places are represented in 2 dimensions black trompe-loeil drawing on white wall, sometimes decorated by paper-crafted objects and a set of digital screens. Photo opportunity for me!

  Another trompe-l'oeil: Book shelves of Coco Chanel's Appartment on rue Cambon.

Another trompe-l'oeil: Book shelves of Coco Chanel's Appartment on rue Cambon.

  This installation reminds that Coco Chanel started her career as milliner.

This installation reminds that Coco Chanel started her career as milliner.

 One of her key places, Scotland, where she spent summers, is presented on a wall of tartan-check wall but in black and white, hinting her sober and strict color sheme.

One of her key places, Scotland, where she spent summers, is presented on a wall of tartan-check wall but in black and white, hinting her sober and strict color sheme.

 Lagerfeld wittily reversed the quote of Coco Chanel on diamonds “the greatest value in the smallest volume". In this sculpture, the volume is XL and its value is estimated much less than real diamonds. On the other hand a birdcage obviously recalls Vanessa Paradis tweeting in “Coco” fragrance advertising 24 years ago.

Lagerfeld wittily reversed the quote of Coco Chanel on diamonds “the greatest value in the smallest volume". In this sculpture, the volume is XL and its value is estimated much less than real diamonds. On the other hand a birdcage obviously recalls Vanessa Paradis tweeting in “Coco” fragrance advertising 24 years ago.

  Another totem: Chain is the heart of Chanel bag and also used at the inner edge of Chanel’s jacket to straighten the shape by its weight.

Another totem: Chain is the heart of Chanel bag and also used at the inner edge of Chanel’s jacket to straighten the shape by its weight.

  One of “totems”, based on several key words of Coco Chanel’s life and creation. Here, a robot is made of dices which carry her lucky numbers such as 5, 19, 21….

One of “totems”, based on several key words of Coco Chanel’s life and creation. Here, a robot is made of dices which carry her lucky numbers such as 5, 19, 21….

 Wheat is a lucky symbol, especially for superstitious Coco Chanel. She possessed wheat-shaped objects and this motif is often revisited by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel’s collection.

Wheat is a lucky symbol, especially for superstitious Coco Chanel. She possessed wheat-shaped objects and this motif is often revisited by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel’s collection.

  Black lines against white are everywhere at the exhibition, as if we walk inside in Chanel’s packaging or shopping bag.

Black lines against white are everywhere at the exhibition, as if we walk inside in Chanel’s packaging or shopping bag.

 One of totems is simply a Coco Chanel’s creation and her inspiration: A baroque statue from her apartment and fully embroidered haute-couture dress.

One of totems is simply a Coco Chanel’s creation and her inspiration: A baroque statue from her apartment and fully embroidered haute-couture dress.

  Short film “Visit Nocturn” written and directed by Karl Lagerfeld himself is a meeting of the reanimated Coco Chanel, played by Geraldine Chaplin, and Lagerfeld.

Short film “Visit Nocturn” written and directed by Karl Lagerfeld himself is a meeting of the reanimated Coco Chanel, played by Geraldine Chaplin, and Lagerfeld.

 Coco Chanel : “What do you think you are doing?” Karl Lagerfeld : “I am keeping you alive.”

Coco Chanel : “What do you think you are doing?” Karl Lagerfeld : “I am keeping you alive.”

 At No.5 room, several vats show the ingredients of the fragrance, such as jasmine, May rose, etc.,  The lids opens one after another and reveal coloured and scented liquid.

At No.5 room, several vats show the ingredients of the fragrance, such as jasmine, May rose, etc., The lids opens one after another and reveal coloured and scented liquid.

 Slot machines full of Chanel’s famous logo and plays of words were seen at Chanel haute couture show’s props in July 2015. In fact this “casino” set was a strong teasing of this exhibition: High profile gamblers who were playing the game at the middle of the runway, such as Kirstin Stewart, Lily-Rose Depp, Vanessa Paradis, Julian Moore, Stella Tenant, etc, compose the same casting as models wearing “Les Bijoux de Diamants” for a series of portrait photographed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Slot machines full of Chanel’s famous logo and plays of words were seen at Chanel haute couture show’s props in July 2015. In fact this “casino” set was a strong teasing of this exhibition: High profile gamblers who were playing the game at the middle of the runway, such as Kirstin Stewart, Lily-Rose Depp, Vanessa Paradis, Julian Moore, Stella Tenant, etc, compose the same casting as models wearing “Les Bijoux de Diamants” for a series of portrait photographed by Karl Lagerfeld.

 Finally the show reveals "Les bijoux de Diamants", Coco Chanel's creation in 1932. For this set, mannequinswears 2015 Fall-Winter haute couture gowns created by Karl Lagerfeld, exactly like "gamblers" played by celebrities in the middle of rhe runway props in July. On the wall :  portraits of 17 womens, muses and friends of the house wearing diamonds jewelry and photographed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Finally the show reveals "Les bijoux de Diamants", Coco Chanel's creation in 1932. For this set, mannequinswears 2015 Fall-Winter haute couture gowns created by Karl Lagerfeld, exactly like "gamblers" played by celebrities in the middle of rhe runway props in July. On the wall :  portraits of 17 womens, muses and friends of the house wearing diamonds jewelry and photographed by Karl Lagerfeld.

 The exhibition's last step is the French Garden: A play of geometry.

The exhibition's last step is the French Garden: A play of geometry.

 It's not a ladies room but a bearbrick-shaped Coco Chanel shadow. seen at the dining area at the opening cocktail party.

It's not a ladies room but a bearbrick-shaped Coco Chanel shadow. seen at the dining area at the opening cocktail party.

 The party goes on with concert of Jamie Bochert, iconic model turned to be a musician, muse and friend of the house of Chanel.

The party goes on with concert of Jamie Bochert, iconic model turned to be a musician, muse and friend of the house of Chanel.

 The opening party ended up with the second part of the concert, perfomed by Saint Vincent.

The opening party ended up with the second part of the concert, perfomed by Saint Vincent.