Chanel @ Saatchi

An exhibition showcasing 113 photographs taken by Karl Lagerfeld is currently on display at Saatchi Gallery. Each photograph features an array of famous faces adorned in a Chanel black jacket. The portraits are all taken in black and white in a collaboration with former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfield who styled the models. The travelling show which started in Tokyo and is set to go everywhere from New York to Paris accompanies a book of the same name and features infants to pensioners.

The jacket is showcased as a timeless fashion piece which has been wearable from 1916 when Coco Chanel set up her fashion house to contemporary fashion today. Its ability to transcend tends and its versatility is highlighted in the show. In each image the tweed jacket looks different, yet always elegant. The boxy jacket with its lack of cinched in waist dates back to the 50s. It is masculine yet feminine at the same time. Chanel was more interested in creating clothes that were practical and could be worn long term, than those that would be fashionable, and here she has succeeded, more than fifty years later, it is one of the most desired items of clothing.

Among the photographed are Freja Beha, Daphne Groeneveld, Alexa Chung and Tilda Swinton. The jacket chosen for the images is simplistic without any 21st century extras. Carine Roitfield is photographed as Coco Chanel herself. She is pictured without the statement logo and quilted bags but with scissors and pearls. My favourite image is one featuring Kiko Mizuhara in a stunning kimono.

The show is a beautiful celebration of design and is a chance to see everyone from Elle Fanning to Kanye West sporting the original must have wardrobe piece.

The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited is open at the Saatchi Gallery until October 28

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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