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 is a London-based writer with a special interest in contemporary Middle Eastern Art. She has a BA in Art History and an MA in Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She runs the Gallery Girl blog and has written for After Nyne, Arteviste, Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine, ReOrient and Suitcase Magazine. Lizzy is also curator of Arab Women Artists Now - AWAN 2018 (London).

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