PARIS — Chanel is hosting a botanical exhibit in Paris’ vast Natural History Museum’s Mineralogy Gallery, located in the 17th-century royal garden of medicinal plants, now dubbed the Jardin des Plantes.
“La Beauté Se Cultive” (or “Cultivating Beauty”) runs from Sept. 23 to 27 and sets out to show how the French luxury brand sustainably grows plants used in its beauty products.
“From the beginning, Chanel has been cultivating the idea of beauty that reaps what it sows,” is what’s written in the introduction on the wall of the exhibit’s entry. “The house strives to always remember that nature’s intelligence is supreme by maintaining an uninterrupted dialogue with the natural world. Its creative expertise is expressed in the selection of the best ingredients, cultivated at the heart of unique ecosystems in the best conditions for the best results.”
Since 2006, Chanel has had in its portfolio more than 60 natural actives for skin care exclusively developed by its own integrated supply chain.
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“We live in a time when society expresses an almost metaphysical inspiration – a return to nature,” said Agathe Derain, responsible sourcing director at Chanel fragrance and beauty, during a press conference Tuesday.
“Proximity to the land is absolutely key,” she continued, explaining that’s for two main reasons: It gives time for research and to experiment with agricultural practices so that ecosystems can be preserved.
On display at “La Beauté Se Cultive” are samples from the Museum of Natural History’s herbarium, such as Argania Spinosa from Morocco, dated Dec. 30, 1937.
Central to “La Beauté Se Cultive” is a focus on Chanel’s four open-sky laboratories, which are at the heart of the brand’s botanical culture, experimentation and observation. These labs are located in Madagascar, France’s southern Alps and southwest regions, and Costa Rica.
Each open-sky zone lab has been granted its own section in the exhibition. For the Alps area, for instance, there are live plants, some of which can be viewed under magnifying glasses, and photographs.
There’s a section fitted out like a Chanel laboratory, and an area showing how botanical photographs, or cyanotypes, are made.
“La Beauté Se Cultive” was formerly meant to run from March 28 to 29, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.