If you haven’t yet made it to see the Chanel exhibition Mademoiselle Privè at Londons Saatchi gallery don’t panic! You still have today and tomorrow with a late night opening until 10pm this evening and I can highly recommend it! Even better the exhibition is completely free with gifts to take home at the end (more of this soon)
Having visited this week, which is half term for those of you that don’t have children, I was delighted at how children friendly the exhibition was when we arrived on Wednesday evening with three of our brood, one of which my daughter Coco Sailor, 5, is named after Coco Chanel herself. I was a little nervous, my children are quite used to exhibitions, especially those concerning fashion and are confidant and knowledgable beyond their years, but my nerves were as to how THEY would be received by the other visitors. The queue was loooong, something that doesn’t seem set to change much in its closing days, but after a quick word with the wonderful staff we were granted a VIP entrance, beating the crowds and dispelling my fears of the children not being welcome.
We were also advised to download the app which runs in conjunction with the exhibition and allows secret footage as you walk though the exhibition. As the Saatchi gallery has wifi this makes it easy to use and access too even when in the depths of this maze like building.
As an exhibition for one of the biggest luxury brands in the world, and arranged by the house, it was expectedly grandiose. The entrance was a replica of Chanels apartment, including her iconic mirrored staircase, which sadly you could not take a picture on but were allowed to take one at the foot of the stairs. I didn’t waste the opportunity as you can see!
The exhibition then guides you through a series of rooms, and the interconnecting white walled halls are the perfect blank canvas to the additional material on the app. One problem, the crowds. Although unavoidable I feel it does dampen the experience as you wait in what feels like a never ending line to see the next thing. My advice therefore is to go with a good amount of patience and time to spare to allow yourself time to look around at your own pace.
I won’t spoil the exhibition with a blow by blow account of the rooms, but noteworthy for us were the scent room, which the children LOVED! We also loved it as it smells amazing, Chanel perfume fills the air and steam filled pots open and close, making it a great interactive space for the little ones and bigger ones too.
The gardens were also an aromatic dream, filled with real topiary that juxtaposed vibrant green against clean fresh white. There are also gardens constructed outside with birdsong too and equally as beautiful and rewarding an experience.
Then there was the diamonds! WOW! Reconstructed under the instruction of Karl Lagerfield, this is the first oppertunity to view the 1932 jewellery collection, Bijoux de Diamants Chanel’s only jewellery collection designed at her hand, that were afterwards deconstructed. Security is understandably tight and so you can’t get to close as these are displayed on mannequins but they are stunning enough to still be perfectly visible and despite the beautiful photography, shoot by Lagerfeld, of them featured on A-list stars the walls, seeing them in flesh really does make all the difference.
There is also a short film with Karl Lagerfeld and an actress playing Coco Chanel, which takes the form of an imagined account of her thoughts of her fashion house at his helm. I found this strange personally, being a fashion historian and critical thinker but the crowds seemed to enjoy it and in the spirit of things I decided not to dwell. In fact the whole exhibition brought to mind several thoughts I had, and created a parallel with my thoughts on the Louis Vuitton Series 3 exhibition I had visited a few weeks earlier, but for the purpose of this particular blog, I think I’ll avoid those for now. That is a whole other piece!
The couture rooms were also a delight and the display was modern yet didn’t take away from the beauty of the garments.
Additional rooms played host to workshops taking place and I felt gutted that I hadn’t signed up sooner. Luckily for us a couture technique workshop had just finished and we we were able to walk around and see the framed couture samples from the houses atelier. This for me was the best bit and perfect end, to see the workmanship and skill within these textile works of art.
Our final walk though was also a favourite with the kids, the sensory room, where swathes of signature Chanel fabrics such as bouclè, tweed, silk and satins hung from the ceiling. (Featured picture)
As a parting gift we were given a poster and a gorgeous tote bag, also free, meaning we left the exhibition happy as well as smelling beautiful. The perfect fashion family night out!
Words: Natalie Courtois. Click to be redirected
//This is not a sponsored post//
Mademoiselle Prive closes on Sunday 1st Novemember and is free entry. For more information click here.