Thursday September 1, 2020 ((rezonodwes.com)) – Chanel tailor, N ° 5: “we repeat a thousand times without really knowing what we are talking about”: Paris is dedicating a first retrospective to eminently genius modern design by Gabrielle Chanel, whose principles of elegance have guided women for a century.
From the 1916 jersey sailor top to the 1950s-60s suit to little black dresses from the Roaring Twenties: the exhibition “Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto ”at the Galliera Palace, which opens on Thursday, pays homage to the most influential designer of the 20th century.
“We rediscovered Chanel, it was a surprise to what extent we did not know in depth her creations, the principles that guided her work,” Miren Arzalluz, director of the Palais Galliera, told AFP. Paris Fashion Museum, which opens its doors to the public after two years of work.
Ms. Arzalluz says she took a “radical” decision to focus only on “the work” of this controversial figure to whom are devoted “almost 100 biographies” that explore the secrets of his success and talk about the men of his life , including a Nazi lover, and his alleged collaboration.
– “You don't need men” to succeed –
Is that why she has never received a tribute to match her talent? “I don't think so,” says Miren Arzalluz. “Her style is so timeless and present in our lives” that we already had the impression of knowing her well.
Another popular idea that this exhibition tries to sweep aside: Mademoiselle Chanel “discovered everything thanks to to men “. “The truth is, she didn't need men to master fabrics” or catch the mood. A Russian-inspired coat dates from 1918 long before he met Grand Duke Dimitri.
Created in 1921, N ° 5, still one of the the best-selling perfumes in the world, do not refer to any specific scent, unlike the fragrances of the time.
“I want to give it an artificial scent, like a dress, that is, made,” Gabrielle Chanel said. Jasmine, rose and ylang-ylang combine with woody and spicy notes, multiplied by aldehydes, synthetic materials.
The presentation is just as innovative: a square bottle in a white cardboard box outlined in black with the ornate vials of the time and abstract names with flowery titles.
It is the extreme modernity that strikes you in this route marked out by more than 350 pieces from the Galliera collections, the heritage of the Chanel house or the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
– Against the tide –
From her beginnings, Gabrielle Chanel was in total opposition to the fashion of her time by introducing the notion of comfort in the clothes she wears herself while her peers men dress an idealized femininity.
“Comfort, naturalness, freedom of movement, these notions were not in haute couture before her,” emphasizes Ms. Arzalluz.
Flexible, her clothes are 'inspire sportswear and borrow codes from the male dandy wardrobe.
Back in the profession in 1954, in the context marked by the New Look of Christian Dior with a silhouette exalting the old canons of femininity, Gabrielle Chanel is 71 years old and is once again positioned against the fashion of moment.
At first his stripped-down suit was criticized for its lack of novelty before becoming an iconic piece.
– “Timeless” –
It does not mold, but emphasizes the chest, the armholes allow free movement of the arms without dragging the jacket. The colored braids structure the silhouette while retaining its flexibility. The skirt, tilted slightly back, does not hug the waist and stops below the knee, nicely shaping the leg.
Currently rarely worn in its classic form, the Chanel skirt suit is “perfectly modernizable” thanks to its “timeless” principles, assures Véronique Belloir, curator of the exhibition at AFP.
For her, the principles of Chanel which “handles paradoxes, mixes the ordinary with the chic, costume jewelry and jewelry, masculine and feminine”, resonate in our way of dressing.
No need to put on a tweed suit with a pearl necklace. An airy dress with chunky sneakers or a man's shirt worn in a feminine way, it comes from the spirit of Chanel, concludes the expert.
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