TOKYO — Pharrell Williams, Sofia Coppola and Soo Joo Park were among the guests who feted the latest edition of Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé exhibit on Thursday night in the Japanese capital. It is the fifth stop of the exhibition’s tour, after London, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
The Tokyo version features an entirely new layout and scenography, with five sections inspired by different elements of Coco Chanel’s private creation studio on the third floor at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris, as well as by the five colors that are most iconic to the brand. In each room, haute couture creations by Karl Lagerfeld and Virginie Viard are shown alongside bottles of the No.5 perfume and jewelry pieces designed by Chanel herself.
“It’s a little bit of the mystery of the brand, of the creative process, that we want to offer through the exhibition to our customers. But not only to our customers, to our fans, and here in Japan we have a lot of fans. And it was a good opportunity to give a little bit of this mystery,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion activities at Chanel. “We have chosen a specific way to display [the creative process] in Tokyo, very different from what we have seen in other cities.”
In addition to the new scenography, the Tokyo version of the exhibit features a video collage made by Coppola in tribute to the brand and its designers.
“I always have an affection for [Karl Lagerfeld] and his work and Chanel since I was a teenager, and so I was happy to make a tribute to what it conjures up for me and the spirit of Chanel and what I love about it,” Coppola said. “I wanted to try to pay homage to what Chanel started and Karl continued and Virginie is the guardian of.”
Coppola famously filmed “Lost in Translation” in the Japanese capital in 2002, and she has long had a strong connection with the city.
“When they asked for a film for the exhibit in Tokyo, I thought I wanted it to have the energy of Tokyo and what that brings to mind,” Coppola said. “I think there’s a kind of pop, girly culture that is celebrated in Tokyo especially, so when I thought of the music [for the film] I was thinking of that.”
The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday, and runs through Dec. 1. Pavlovsky said as of two days before the opening, more than 30,000 people had already booked tickets to visit.
To celebrate the Tokyo opening, Chanel hosted a party Thursday night in a warehouse district on the outskirts of the city. London-based Japanese singer Rina Sawayama performed, followed by a DJ set by Park and a performance by Williams. Like Coppola, the latter also has a close relationship with Japan, as well as with Chanel.
“It’s all my favorite things, all at the same time,” he said. “The Japanese culture is just, they’re purveyors of amazing taste. They just don’t miss in my opinion. And just the amount of consideration that goes into things, whether it’s an experience or a product or a brand or an ethos or a concept, the amount of thinking that goes into it is just remarkable. And you feel it when you go through the experience or when you buy the product or when you hear the concept. One can sense those things very effortlessly. There’s a very seamless consideration for what the user is going to need.”
Williams visits Japan a couple of times a year, and said it never disappoints.
“I always come here and I’m always inspired. I always leave charged up, thinking about things differently, thinking about myself differently. It’s always an elevated experience.”
As for where Mademoiselle Privé might pop up next, Pavlovsky said he had “no idea,” but that wherever it might be, it will again be different in some ways to what it is in Tokyo.
“The most important thing for us is to be able to focus on the needs of each country to make the brand in each country as strong as possible,” the executive said.