Mademoiselle Privé at the Saatchi Gallery
For just under a month, Chanel takes over three floors of the Saatchi Gallery for an exhibition that looks at some pieces from the designer’s catalogue. It encompasses the life, passions and creations of both Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld.
Highlights include a peaceful indoor geometric garden and the fragrance room, demonstrating the concepts and smells that go into the iconic Chanel No 5 perfume with LED-lit mini spas. It is easy to get lost in the sensory room, with metres and metres of contrasting monochrome fabrics elegantly guiding visitors through to encounter pieces from the Bijoux de Diamants collection. A short film depicting an imagined conversation between Chanel and Lagerfeld, directed by the latter, shows a lighter, humorous side to the usually reserved Lagerfeld.
The show blends the classic with the modern. Pumping house beats accompany sultry dark rooms and neon lights, where the delicate luxurious dresses and jewellery are exhibited. The young faces of new Hollywood and the fashion world adorn the walls alongside long-established stars, all in Chanel pieces.
The only problem is that the show is not quite certain what it wants to be. It is not solely an aesthetic appreciation of Chanel, nor does it offer a comprehensive history. There is little explanation offered as to what is being displayed and this can lead to a feeling of alienation from the pieces.
It feels as though this exhibition only scratches the surface of such an influential woman, whose confidence, power and strength were evident in all her works. She was instrumental in changing the perception of women in fashion, from the subject to the creator, and here, that is all only hinted at. She remains, still – “une mademoiselle privé”.
Mademoiselle Privé is at the Saatchi Gallery from 13th October until 1st November 2015, for further information visit here.