Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto

Exploring Coco Chanel’s legacy at the V&A

by Dolores O'Donoghue
Words Dolores O’Donoghue

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is to host the inaugural UK exhibition devoted to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. The exhibition will trace the evolution of her iconic design style and the foundation of the House of Chanel, from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to the presentation of her final collection in 1971.

Showcasing over 180 looks, presented collectively for the first time, alongside jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and perfumes, the exhibition will explore Chanel’s pioneering approach to fashion design. 

Model in Paris wearing clothes by Coco Chanel
Dorothy + Little Bara priest, Paris (Vogue). © 1960 William Klein.
Display of clothes by Chanel on a marble staircase
(Left to right) Chanel Suit, 1969; Chanel Skirt Suit, 1966; Chanel Coat, 1961. Photo: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Based on the Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto exhibition that premiered in Paris in 2020, organised by the Palais Galliera, Fashion Museum of the City of Paris, the London exhibition will also feature rarely seen pieces from the V&A’s own collection, alongside looks from Palais Galliera and the Patrimoine de Chanel, the heritage collections of the House of Chanel in Paris. Special pieces on display will include those created for British model Anne Gunning (later Lady Nutting) and Hollywood stars Lauren Bacall and Marlene Dietrich.

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