Exhibit Spotlight: Paris’ ‘Gabrielle Chanel. Manifeste de Mode’

Word of stylish new hotels opening in Paris has made us particularly wistful, possessing as we are of little knowledge as to when we will once again be able to touch down on a runway at Orly or Charles de Gaulle. This means, of course, also missing out on that exigent dose of Parisian cultural offerings, that will continue to elude us into the new year.

One exhibition in particular that might have to happen without us in attendance is the pithily titled Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto, currently on show at the Palais Galliera, the City of Paris Fashion Museum, and running through March 14 of 2021. The Galliera has recently just reopened with a new set of rooms baptized the Galeries Gabrielle Chanel, so the overlapping tributes to she who was arguably the 20th Century’s most influential designer are considerable (and well-deserved).

As that title suggests, the show is a reverent and all-encompassing tribute to Ms. Chanel, with more than 350 items sourced by curators Miren Arzalluz (Director of the museum), Véronique Belloir and Marie-Laure Gutton from the collections of the Patrimoine de CHANEL, the Palais Galliera and a host of international museums, all dating between 1910 and 1971, in which year she passed away on January 10—aged 87—at Le Ritz hotel. The mission, as it were, is to visually explicate how the girl from Saumur, Maine-et-Loire went on to forever change the way women dress, and also very much the way the see themselves.

Belloir explains of Chanel’s radically visionary designs, “It was a new elegance based on comfort, freedom and feeling natural. It was a kind of manifesto beyond fashion.”

The exhibit takes the viewer from her groundbreakingly silhouetted dresses of the 1930s, on through to the gender bending 1950s suits and her return to couture around the same time. In its thoroughness, it also includes her exalted jewelry designs, and the iconic quilted 2.55 bag.

“Gabrielle Chanel created a synthesis to codify her suits,” Arzalluz observes. She offered the complete opposite to 1950s fashion.”

And the way we dressed would never be the same.

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto, will be showing at the Palais Galliera, the City of Paris Fashion Museum, through March 14 of 2021.

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