The retrospective of an extraordinary seamstress!

It is first of all a joy to rediscover this delicate building of the Palais Galliera, the reopening of which is a nice surprise for the return to Parisian culture. We enter this new temple of fashion with delight, so much this facade of a Palladian villa surrounded by gardens with a view of the Eiffel Tower, can only be the magnificent setting for this first retrospective in France, never devoted to “Coco” Chanel on 1500 m2 ! The Duchess of Galliera, at the end of the 19th century, created this luxurious setting to house her rich collection of art; Coco therefore enters as a goddess in what is now the new Fashion Museum of the city of Paris. A masterful entry for the “Grande Mademoiselle” (1883/1971), in an exceptional scenography, with a presentation of 350 pieces from the Galliera collections, the Chanel heritage, international museums and private collections.

Chic, natural, and casual: the credo of a rebel !

I was truly seduced by the sobriety and daring of the lines of the models created in 1920 by this seamstress who is still so current! A timeless fashion that has been around the world and when we look with attention at the portraits of Coco made by his painter friends of the time, we can better appreciate his determination to “create”, to promote a new form of elegance, subtle chic, in short, a timeless style that the multitude of pieces on display brilliantly reveal.

“Take away those frills, simplify, free the neck, loosen the waist … Lengthen your bust, give your back: you have to be able to put a handkerchief, a lighter or a piece of paper in your pockets … Nothing unnecessary, everything has a function. »Gabrielle Chanel

We knew we were going to find the little black crepe dress so lively that made us dream, and the iconic tweed suit, adorned with numerous necklaces that complete the “Chanel look”, often worn with grace by so many actresses. like Romy Schneider or Anna Karénine in the 60s.

A special mention for this pretty idea of ​​scenography: that of enclosing in a case (separate room) the mythical perfume Number 5 launched in 1921 where we can hear some haunting sentences from the famous interview of Marilyn Monroe at Life Magazine in which she evokes her passion for this perfume that she wears naked like a talisman, her only adornment in bed!

My favorite: “Gabrielle or the genius of the accessory”

Yes it’s like entering Mademoiselle’s Ali Baba cave…! Gabrielle’s sets allow her to express her fantasy, her imagination and she reveals herself to be a true genius of the accessory: wonderful sets made by the great artisans of the time which are an integral part of Coco’s silhouette. . Byzantine, Persian, Venetian, Celtic influences, everything is only a pretext to better sublimate and enhance the toilet of the perfect “Mademoiselle” with an endless stream of costume jewelry in profusion with emblematic patterns: ear of wheat (gift from Salvador Dali) , the lion (his sign!), the sun, the cross or even the camellia. This camellia was declined in all its forms with its geometric roundness, its absence of perfume, its favorite color which contrasts perfectly with black dresses or tweed jackets.
Symbol of carnal pleasures in the 19th century, it becomes here a real heart asset here for the Grande Mademoiselle !

Galliera Museum: from October 1 to March 14, 2021: do not forget the late-night openings on Thursdays and Fridays until 9 p.m.!
Some books to consult to prepare for the visit: L’irrégulière (1974) Edmonde Charles-Roux / Gabrielle Chanel: fashion manifesto, the exhibition album


If you are fascinated by the great artisans of Haute Couture then the upcoming opening of 19M, the future Chanel site dedicated to eleven crafts in Aubervilliers, this is for you !
Baptized 19M in reference to the Parisian district where it is located and the day of birth of Gabrielle Chanel (August 19, 1883). This ultramodern center will host eleven houses including the embroiderer Lesage, the shoemaker Massaro, the feather and flower expert Lemarié, the hatter and milliner Maison Michel who work with Chanel and other luxury houses. The 25,500 m² building which spans five levels and two basements was designed by the architect Rudy Ricciotti, pioneer and ambassador of concrete, author – among others – of MuCEM in Marseille, of the Department of Arts of the Islam at the Louvre Museum and the Jean-Bouin Stadium in Paris, in a popular district in the north of Paris, which will be inaugurated in the fall of 2020 and will bring together 600 people in modern and bright workshops.