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A look at the inspiration behind Chanel

June 29,2017
The Haute Couture section of the Mademoiselle Prive exhibition features a collection of dresses designed by Coco Chanel. [CHANEL]
Following luxury brand Cartier’s “Highlights” exhibition and Louis Vuitton’s “Volez Vogeuz Voyagez,” Chanel has opened a free exhibition in Seoul, dubbed as “Mademoiselle Prive,” to show the story of Chanel and its creator Coco Chanel. On June 23, the D Museum in Yongsan District, central Seoul, opened its doors to visitors looking to get a glimpse at the inspirations behind the luxury French fashion house.

“This exhibition, a harmony of the digital dynamics and charms of Korea, sheds light on the creative process of Chanel and the iconic works of Mademoiselle Chanel,” according to the brand. Seoul is the second city, and first in Asia, to host Chanel’s exhibition after first stopping in London in 2015.

The exhibition is a hybrid of the old and the new, of creation and the creator. The exhibition displays the birth and history of Chanel and its creator utilizing the latest technology. The exhibit’s modern feel is thanks to Karl Lagerfeld, the brand’s creative director.

Unlike a conventional exhibition, Mademoiselle Prive is guided by a smartphone application of the same name, which can be easily downloaded from any app store. From booking a reservation, to providing an augmented reality (AR) experience within the museum walls, the digital tour guide helps viewers enjoy the rare experience to their fullest.

The nine-part journey into Chanel begins with an indigo and white image of the Coromandel, Coco Chanel’s favorite Chinese folding screen and an inspiration that she’s said to have taken with her everywhere. Then, visitors walk into a simple black and white animated reproduction of Deauville, where the renowned designer opened her first boutique in 1913. The app guide features an 18-minute movie about the birth of the Chanel boutique, titled “Once Upon a Time,” and starring Keira Knightley.

“Totems” features seven totems designed by Lagerfeld, each carrying different symbolic meanings, such as “Coco’s Lucky Numbers” - made out of black and white numbers, each carrying a significant meaning to the fashion house such as 19, Gabrielle Chanel’s birth date of August 19, 1883. The fourth part, Chanel N°5, focuses on Chanel’s iconic perfume made in 1921 and the major five scent notes that constitute the signature luxury perfume.

Other parts of the exhibition include a spatial representation of Chanel’s haute couture, and a video titled, “Bijoux de Diamants Collection,” featuring celebrities wearing a jewelry collection design by Chanel in 1932 filmed by Karl Lagerfeld, and studio photographs of celebrities wearing the beautiful pieces.

Brand ambassadors G-Dragon, Caroline de Maigret, Kikuchi Rinko, model SooJoo, Irene of girl group Red Velvet along with other celebrities and artists showed up to the private opening of the exhibition on June 21. After a tour of the gallery and an opening reception, guests enjoyed a special congratulatory performance at the S Factory in Seongsu-dong, eastern Seoul, where G-Dragon performed songs from his latest album.

The exhibition will run through July 19 at the D Museum, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday to Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday to Sunday. Entrance is free, but prior reservations must be made for an available time slot via the application.

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]