The first retrospective of an unconventional couturière at Palais Galliera, Paris

[On the cover: Gabrielle Chanel- Manifeste de mode-affiche-Palais-Galliera]

Gabrielle Chanel (1883-1971) was much more than a couturière, much more than a stylist. She was the woman who revolutionised the world of clothing, impressing a veritable manifesto of fashion on bodies. This is the inspiring concept of the exhibition inaugurated in early October at Palais Galliera, Paris, open until 14th March 2021.

The pathway unravels in a journey amidst her iconic and emblematic garments, like the famous jersey “marinière” from 1916, her small black dresses and a sophisticated array of 1930s creations. An entire hall is dedicated to the N°5 perfume, created in 1921, the quintessential emblem of Coco Chanel esprit. After the war she returned to couture in 1954, reacting to dominant styles of the time with her tweed skirt suits, quilted leather handbags and the equally iconic two-tone slingbacks, better known as ‘the Chanel Shoe’ (also discussed in our Shoe Dictionary), on display in a hall dedicated to accessories, which she considered essential for a harmonious silhouette.

The two-tone shoes were launched in 1957 as a finishing touch to the elegance of her style. After various attempts with a number of cobblers, Coco Chanel adopted the beige and black leather model by Raymond Massaro, with a mid-heel for greater comfort.

The exhibition provides an overview of the Maison’s history up to the present, illustrating how the brand has evolved without ever shunning its essence.