Twelve years after the first Chanel boutique opened in Beijing, “Culture Chanel,” an exhibit based on the life and art of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, opened Saturday at the National Art Museum of China.


This story first appeared in the November 9, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The exhibit, which runs through Dec. 13, features more than 400 works of art, couture dresses, jewelry, photographs, paintings, and drawings all connected to Chanel’s life and legacy.


The Beijing exhibit, which first opened at Shanghai’s Museum of Contemporary Art, brings in several new works connected to artists who were in some way linked to Chanel, including a bronze head of Chanel by Jacques Lipchitz, an ink drawing by Salvador Dali, a collage by Pablo Picasso, and a fan decorated by the poet Jean Cocteau.


Actress Anna Mouglalis, who played Gabrielle Chanel in the 2009 film, “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky,” attended the Beijing opening. She said she was enjoying her short visit because her father is an acupuncturist interested in traditional Chinese medicine, and that both of her parents had studied Chinese. “So since I’ve been born, I’ve been raised with a fascination with China,” she said.


Curator Jean-Louis Froment said that the exhibit was designed as an homage to each of the artists featured. The exhibit, Chanel representatives noted, was created to be different from the Shanghai space by featuring smaller rooms and intimate spaces, much like the hutongs that dot the city.

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