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‘Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto’ at London’s V&A Will Span Coco Chanel’s Life and Career

  • March 24, 2023

LONDON — The work and life of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel will be on display at the Victoria & Albert museum on Sept. 16, at the museum’s Sainsbury Gallery.

“Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto” will be the first U.K. exhibition dedicated to the French fashion designer, charting six decades of her career, from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to her final show in 1971.

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The showcase will be divided into 10 sections, starting with “Towards A New Elegance,” which will trace Chanel’s beginning in millinery and quick expansion into clothing.

“The Emergence of a Style” will focus on her minimal design aesthetic, which transcended onto theater stage and silver screen; “The Invisible Accessory” looks at the debut of the house’s famous perfume No5 and the launch of makeup in 1924 and skin care in 1927; “Luxury and Line” introduces the house’s eveningwear and Bijoux de Diamants, Chanel’s first and only collection of fine jewelry commissioned by the International Diamond Corporation of London in 1932; “Closing House” details how the war affected her business and personal life, as well as her return to the fashion scene in 1954 and the relaunch of her couture line; “The Suit” highlights how the Chanel suit became synonymous with uniform dressing; “Chanel Codes” examines how the 2.55 handbag and two-tone slingback shoes have endured; “Into the Evening” spotlights Chanel’s couture garments and cocktail suits; “Costume Jewellery” touches on Chanel’s playfulness with jewelry and rejecting conventions of fine jewelry; and “A Timeless Allure” will visit Chanel’s final collection of spring 1971.

L-R: Lydia Sokolova (born Hilda Munnings, 1896 - 1974), Anton Dolin (1904 - 1983), Bronislava Nijinska and Leon Woizikowsky in the Diaghilev Ballets Russes production of 'Le Train Bleu', London. Billed as an 'oper+tte dans+e' by Jean Cocteau, this was the ballet's only production. The roles of the tennis champion (Nijinska) and the golfer (Woizikowsky) were inspired by Suzanne Lenglen and Edward Prince of Wales respectively. Music by Darius Milhaud, choreography by Bronislava Nijinska, costumes by Coco Chanel, and scenery by Henri Laurens.   (Photo by Sasha/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Lydia Sokolova, Anton Dolin, Bronislava Nijinska and Leon Woizikowsky after the first performance of “Le Train Bleu” in Britain, at the Coliseum Theatre London, 1924.

Based upon an exhibition of the same name organized by

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