V&A to Stage Major Chanel Exhibition in London

The French luxury giant has teamed up with London’s Victoria & Albert Museum for the UK’s first retrospective of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.

”Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto,” based on the 2020 Palais Galliera exhibition of the same name, will open at the V&A in September 2023. Set to showcase the “incredible relevance and permanence of the Chanel style,” according to Chanel’s president of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky, it will bring together over 180 looks with jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and perfumes, drawing from the brand’s archives as well as the collections of the Palais Galliera and the V&A.

Large-scale exhibitions can be valuable for luxury labels, driving brand awareness and boosting cultural capital. In recent years, labels from Dior to Alexander McQueen have staged touring shows with major museums around the world, attracting huge public interest. “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams,” for example, which opened at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2017, drew over 700,000 visitors, breaking a record for a single show at the Paris museum.

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After its Paris debut in 2020, “Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto” travelled to the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, at the end of last year. For its arrival in London, the exhibition will emphasise the designer’s relationship with British culture, examining her adoption of British textiles like tweed and outfits created for 1950s British model Anne Gunning.

The show comes as consumer interest in Chanel is booming. Last year, sales rose 23 percent over pre-pandemic levels to $15 billion, the French house said earlier this week.

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