If you saw the 3-week exhibition Mademoiselle Privé, you’ll know that Chanel straddles the past and present exceptionally well. One of my highlights was the short film shown towards the end, written and directed by Karl Lagerfeld in which he finds himself face-to-face with Chanel’s ‘ghost’ brilliantly played by Geraldine Chaplin. “What do you think you’re doing!” she asks Karl, highly unamused. “I’m keeping you alive,” is his answer, explaining how he has reinvented the brand while keeping the house codes top of mind. The film is actually quite a hoot, but the sentiment beneath it is serious business.
Chanel is the most famous luxury fashion house in the world. Its stable of couture, ready-to-wear, accessories, fine jewellery and beauty have been coveted for decades, from the Chanel no 5 perfume worn by Marilyn Monroe to everybody’s favourite 2.55 handbag. And so, while London’s creative and curious queued in a never-ending snake for the Saatchi Gallery exhibition a few weeks ago, I was busy being treated to my own Chanel education, in a guided tour of the actual Chanel apartment in Paris, on a two-day trip hosted by Chanel. (more…)