The Saatchi gallery is currently host to a glamorous, interactive exhibition showing the journey through the House of Chanel’s creativity from Coco’s first hat shop and early travels, to Karl Lagerfeld’s development of the brand. Alongside Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty earlier this year, this has generated a huge amount of interest in high fashion and luxury brands.
After queuing in the rain for twenty minutes and approaching through ‘The English Garden’ – designed by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winners, the Rich Brothers – the start of the exhibition is an eye catching augmented reality vision of Gabrielle Chanel’s Paris apartment. Having downloaded the app beforehand, the backdrop of mirrored panels transformed into a 360° view of her chic apartment in Rue Cambon when viewed through a smartphone.
Other rooms featured a super sized scent making chamber with mysterious vats opening to reveal vibrantly coloured ‘steaming potions’ to represent the ingredients used in perfume production; a series of imaginative totems made from all manner of materials; swathes of black and white fabrics suspended from the ceiling inviting you to touch them as you walk through. The focal point is the display of Karl Lagerfeld’s AW15 haute couture collection liberally sprinkled with re-editions of Chanel’s 1932 Bijoux Diamants jewellery.
It is a very clever and beautifully presented journey through the brand and greatly appeals to smartphone users. Although short on historical background, the effect is visually stunning and varied and has sparked my interest in finding out more about the legendary designer.