FINE CHINA: Chanel and a Zaha Hadid building are doing another pas de deux. The French fashion house’s “Culture Chanel” exhibition is to open on Jan. 16 at the opera house in Guangzhou, China, designed by Hadid, who in 2007 created an otherworldly pavilion for a short-lived traveling show devoted to art inspired by Chanel’s iconic quilted handbag. (Chanel ultimately donated the structure to the Arab World Institute, which has installed it at the foot of the main museum in Paris as a permanent showcase for contemporary art and design.)
The centerpiece for the Guangzhou display, which traces links between Chanel and the arts, is Pablo Picasso’s stage backdrop for the 1924 ballet “Le Train Bleu,” on special loan from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Gabrielle Chanel designed the costumes for the Serge Diaghilev ballet, with Jean Cocteau as librettist.
Organized in partnership with the Guangdong Museum of Art, the exhibition spans 400 works, including photos, drawings, paintings, manuscripts, books and films, along with fashions by the founder through to Chanel’s present-day couturier, Karl Lagerfeld. Never-before-seen elements include some 30 drawings by Picasso from a private collection, along with works by Amedeo Modigliani. Jean-Louis Froment, who did two previous “Culture Chanel” showcases in Shanghai and Beijing, is curator of the Guangzhou exhibition, which runs through March 3.