The Mademoiselle Privé Experience

by - 16:28

London has played host to many designer exhibitions recently.  The V&A showcased the work of legendary British designer Alexander McQueen in his Savage Beauty exhibit and The Strand allowed visitors to immerse themselves into the mind of Nicolas Ghesquière in his Louis Vuitton Series 3 exhibition.  Last month, it was the turn of Chanel to take its place at the Saatchi Gallery to educate and fascinate fashion lovers on the history of the Chanel house and Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel herself. 

After a busy morning in East London several weeks ago, I headed West to Sloane Square to experience the awaited Mademoiselle Privé exhibition for myself.  Stepping through the pillars of the Saatchi Gallery, I entered the black and white world of Chanel.

The mirrored, spiral staircase from her Rue Cambon apartment. It's said that
 Coco used the mirrors to see the audience's reaction to her collection during 
the show.
Her first hat shop in Deauville.

The black and white wall papered rooms, filled with the thoughts and places she loved the most gracefully lead us to a dimly lit room, completely bare other than the original door design of her atelier hanging alone on the wall.

Coco placed the sign on her door so that she could work undisturbed.

The low lighting continued on through to the next room, presenting Chanels totems - symbols and codes that were created by Chanel and carried through to the present day by Karl Lagerfeld; they are the emblems of the house.

The Wheatsheaf - a symbol of creativity and a totem which reoccurred in her
apartment and in both hers and Karl's designs. 

From near darkness to a room full of hanging white fabrics; the exhibition continued to impress.  I wandered through the sensory room, feeling the Chanel couture fabrics between my fingertips, from silk to the famous bouclé tweeds.

My excitement and amazement continued on to the second floor, where neat gardens awaited and collections were brought to life.  Chanels Bijoux de Diamants High Jewellery collection was revisited and dressed with pieces worn by the high profile gamblers at the house's most recent couture show. 

From jewellery to haute couture, the adjacent room again did not fail to impress.  Each dress was suspended on an illuminating pole to enable the visitors to see the delicate embroidery and hard work that was put into making each piece. 

To complete the exhibition I ended up in the perfumery.  In Willy Wonka style, we were presented with vats that bubbled away as if a new perfume was being concocted, with lids that unexpectedly opened to reveal the fragrance and its bright colour inside.

I wandered out through the pillars of the Saatchi Gallery and strolled back through the winding gardens that lead me to the entrance, picking up a Mademoiselle Privé tote bag and poster on the way. 

Feeling inspired and satisfied by my trip, I headed home. 

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