Vintage News | Inside: Chanel's Mademoiselle Privé

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All photos by Lauren Milligan/vogue.co.uk


Desire may not be one of the five senses, but guaranteed it will be stimulated along with the others as you wander around the halls of Chanel's new Mademoiselle Privé exhibition at London's Saatchi Gallery. Opening to the public tomorrow, the exhibition explores the creativity of both Chanel's eponymous founder, Gabrielle, known as Coco, and its current creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, who assumed the helm only 12 years after Coco's death.

Named for the sign that Coco placed on the door of her atelier in order that she could work undisturbed, Mademoiselle Privé is a 3-D feast for the senses. A complementary app allows visitors to the exhibition to experience another layer of visual delights - with one plainly dressed room displaying Coco's Rue Cambon apartment when viewed through the app, while others offer up quotes and facts on the lady herself - each room referencing an element crucial to the creativity of the house's two designers.

"So, six days after the spring/summer show - which was very powerful and about the creativity of the brand - here we are talking again about creativity," Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel's CEO, joked this morning as the press preview was unveiled. "We felt we wanted, and needed, to say something about what goes on behind the scenes; about creativity. When you see Chanel, you see Mademoiselle, you see her apartment, you see the magnificent shows, but you don't see much about what's happening behind the scenes. We felt it was a good time for the brand to give away some secrets."

The story begins before you even step inside as the entrance - usually a long, straight walk from the Kings Road gate to the door - is reimagined as a meandering English country garden, created by British landscape designers Harry and David Rich. Once inside, we wander through the places that meant the most to Coco - from her virtual Rue Cambon apartment (although the famous mirrored stairs are there in a physical capacity), to Venice, Scotland, her first hat shop in Deauville, and beyond.

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