Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Mademoiselle Prive

Mademoiselle Prive, (like the Hermes Wanderland show of April), is another well designed exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. It is immaculately presented, but definately a case of style over substance I thought, as some of the rooms were lacking in content, and virtually bare. The space would have been better employed in showing the clothes and products that Coco Chanel is famous for, or displaying more of her personal objects so that we could get more of a feel of her, which is what the exhibition was surely supposed to be about. It really helps to know a little about Coco Chanel and the Chanel brand beforehand, as I left the exhibition feeling as though I got to know precious little more about her than when I went in.

Lacquer screens at the entrance to the show. Chanel apparently loved Chinese lacquer screens and kept many in her apartment.

There was some nice black and white animation at the beginning of the exhibition projected onto the white furniture which complemened the stark room sets.

Oversized comet jewellery. Jewewllery design and sales are an important part of the Chanel brand and Chanel stated: "I wanted to cover women with constellations! Stars! Stars of all sizes..." The comet is one of the icons adopted and developed by Chanel.

These next photos are of other totems that were inspirations to Chanel and informed her aesthetic, style and designs. These totems included numbers, the colours red, black and white (particularly stripes), and lucky numbers.

Pearls were another totem.

Opulent fabrics and embroidery.

Wheat, another important totem in the Chanel canon.

An example of the animation used in the exhibition which was projected onto a variety of white Chanel textiles.

An over-sized tweed catapult with fake pearl, and a guard who wouldn't get out of the shot!

A tweed camelia, one Chanel's favourite blooms made from one of her favourite fabrics.

A room design based on an 18th century French garden design and the interlocking C motif that would be adopted as the Chanel brand logo.

These pictures are taken from the most interesting room of the exhibition up on the first floor, where you could see the haute couture clothes and some amazing diamond jewellery as well as photographs taken by Karl Lagerfeld of celebrities wearing the diamonds. My only complaint about this room was that you weren't allowed to get up close to view the jewellery or haute couture garments as this would have set off the alarm system. Displaying the clothes and jewellery in glass cases would have been a better way for the public to examine the structure of the clothes and the dazzling diamonds at close quarters.

The pieces below are fantastic as they are so sheer and delicate they appear to consist of nothing, and the embroidery is spectacular. Thankfully you were allowed to get up close and personal to examine these pieces.

Loved this vibrant flock wallpaper design on the second floor which lined the walls of the workshop rooms.

Another nice touch was the specially designed and installed gardens filled with seasonal plants that greet you as you arrive and exit the Saatchi Gallery.

This exhibition provided a great opportunity for people-watching, as many of the women visitors viewing the exhibition were very chic, conspicuously clad head to toe in Chanel, or were suitably accessorised in Chanel jewellery, boots or handbags. As you left the exhibition you were handed a free tote and poster, which was a nice touch, (and the closest many of us will get to owning a Chanel bag!).

Mademoiselle Prive
until 1st November
Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York's HQ
King's Road