Exploring the Gabrielle Chanel Exhibition at the NGV

At the moment, there is a undertone in my life that I am being drawn to all things French. I have begun taking French lessons not only to provide me with some conversational skills when I go there next month, but also because I have detected additional French theme coming through in my research, cooking, and movies.

So you can imagine this trip to see one of the world's most famous French Designers came at no surprise. If you're looking for a dose of inspiration this weekend, I recommend checking out the Gabriel Chanel exhibition at the NGV.

Why is Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel so famous?

In history we pay tribute to those who broke down the walls of  creative and social boundaries, and in the world of fashion, Chanel was one of those people.

'Gabrielle devoted her life to creating, perfecting and promoting a new type of feminine. She designed for an active woman like herself, according to principles of comfort, simplicity and ease of movement. She worked on the mannequin, never sketching first. A creative space fuelled by her interactions by her interactions with the artistic intellectual literacy circles of her time.' - NGV

Chanel's ascent to power began in 1910 when she opened her first boutique at 21 rue Cambon in Paris. It was here where she introduced her first perfume, Chanel No. 05 - a scent that would become one of the most recognisable and popular perfumes in the world. Coined as 'The Invisible accessory of the woman' the exhibition paid tribute to the perfume collection exhibiting the original bottles and packaging. When I was creating my HEW logo, the graphic designer presented a series of slightly different versions of the logo I had now. They all seemed very understated and simple. I asked her for more elaborate designs in which she explained the most premium branding are those that are simple and timeless. While at the Chanel exhibit, I thought of my encounter with my graphic designer as I looked at the branding and packaging from over a century ago, which seemed to be almost contemporary in today's lens.

In 1939 when France declares war, the House of Chanel closes. Then in 1944 Gabrielle is arrested and interograted because of her relationship with German officer Baron Hans Gunther however she is released.

After 14 years, in 1953 Chanel reopens their doors. In 1954, Chanel releases her new collection, she is 71 years old. In 1955, she releases the revolutionary 2.55 and then in 1956 she released the tweed suit.

This year is the 51st anniversary of Gabrielle's death, and what better way to commemorate her legacy than by visiting the show? Gabrielle's fashions were revolutionary for their time since they liberated women from Victorian-era clothing constraints. She introduced a new style that was simple, elegant and easy to wear. Her signature look included tailored suits, little black dresses, pearl necklaces and quilted hand


If you're looking for a dose of inspiration this weekend, I recommend checking out the the NGV. The Gabrielle Chanel is now finished however there are whole bunch of great exhibitions currently on, check it out here https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/

Let me know in the comments if you've been or are planning on going!