Went to an amazing exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery on the King’s Road, and it was free. To really enjoy the experience, it’s important to have a phone or iPad so that you can download their app as it provides a greater dimension.
“Mademoiselle Privé” is described as a journey through the origins of Chanel’s creations, capturing the charismatic personality and irreverent spirit of Mademoiselle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld.
On entering the exhibition, Geraldine Chaplin’s voice is heard as Coco Chanel. A mirrored room shows off the famous staircase at 31 Rue de Chambón Paris where she lived, and had her workshop. Only visible with the app, I was able to see pictures of her elegant apartment above.
The exhibition is much bigger than I envisaged, and is displayed over two floors. Displays go back to the start of her career as a milliner. Voice-overs tell us that Gabrielle, later known as Coco, always wore pearls.
A room is devoted to the laboratory of her perfume Chanel No 5 while another the sensory has black and white muslin drapes with sounds of voices to give the impression of the workshop where she, and later Karl Lagerfeld’s creations were made.
On the first floor a room has been turned into a maze-like 18th century French garden. The design was inspired by the intertwined C motif that Chanel first saw in stained glass windows at the orphanage where she lived as a child. In another room, photographs taken by Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel’s 1932 jewellery collection are displayed on the walls. In the middle, dummy models wear clothes designed by him and Chanel which show off the jewellery.
A film made by Karl Lagerfeld has Geraldine Chaplin playing the ghost of Chanel who comes alive in her flat, subsequently going upstairs to her workshop to meet Karl Lagerfeld. The film reflects on how Lagerfeld feels she would think about what he has done since she passed away, portraying her as being critical of how he has modernised the House of Chanel. Haute couture designs of his 2014 collection are shown on dummies cleverly displayed against beams of light, presumably to stop anyone reproducing his designs.
The exhibition runs until 1 November. There were huge queues so you may have to wait. We had an hour’s wait but it was well worth it. An added bonus on leaving, we were even given a free cotton shopping bag and poster.
Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, London. www.mademoiselleprive.chanel.com