Chanel is the exclusive sponsor of the new space for permanent exhibitions, located in the museum’s basement, which will be named “Gabrielle Chanel Rooms.” The 7,200-square-foot-space will be open to the public year-round and will showcase the history of fashion from the 18th century to the present.
The temporary exhibition, “Gabrielle Chanel. A Fashion Manifesto,” was initially set to open in April, but was postponed after France went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Covering an area of 16,150 square feet, including the new basement galleries, it is now scheduled to run from Oct. 1, 2020, to March 14, 2021.
It will feature more than 350 pieces from the Palais Galliera collections and Chanel’s archives, as well as loans from institutions including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Museo de la Moda in Santiago in Chile and the MoMu in Antwerp, as well as from private collections.
“At a time when Paul Poiret dominated the world of women’s fashion, Gabrielle Chanel went to Deauville in 1912, then to Biarritz and Paris, and revolutionized the world of haute couture, adorning the bodies of her contemporaries with what amounted to a fashion manifesto,” the Palais Galliera said in a statement.
“Chanel devoted her long life to creating, perfecting and promoting a new kind of elegance based on freedom of movement, a natural, relaxed attitude, a subtle elegance free from extravagance, a timeless style for a new kind of woman,” it added.
The show is curated by Miren Arzalluz, director of the Palais Galliera, and Véronique Belloir, collection curator, with artistic direction by Olivier Saillard, the fashion historian who used to run the museum. The exhibition has been organized with the support of Chanel.
The first portion is chronological, starting with a straw hat created by Chanel, who began as a milliner, and a jersey sailor blouse from 1916 that essentially launched the concept of resort dressing. It segues into her streamlined looks from the Twenties and Thirties, and a room devoted to the No. 5 perfume, created in 1921.
The second part of the exhibition is grouped into themes, such as the braided tweed suit; two-tone pumps; the 2.55 quilted handbag, and the brand’s signature costume and fine jewelry, among others. Ten portraits of Chanel illustrate the ten chapters of the exhibition, underlining how she was the embodiment of her brand.
The Palais Galliera is also planning an exhibition dedicated to the centenary of the French edition of Vogue magazine.