It’s been a major year for Chanel retrospectives, with the annual Costume Institute Gala’s theme for 2023 being none other than the iconic brand’s equally as iconic late creative director Karl Lagerfeld. And now, fashion lovers can set their sights on a retrospective about the life and work of Chanel’s founder, Gabrielle ‘Coco” Chanel. Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto is set to open at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London on September 16 and will chart the evolution of the designer’s style—and the advancement of her eponymous fashion house from her start with a millinery boutique in 1910 to her final collection in 1971.
The exhibit is comprised of 200 looks total—many of which have not been exhibited together before—and is a re-imagining of the Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto exhibition that was organized by the Palais Galliera Fashion Museum of the City of Paris. It features 100 new items and 60 new looks.
There are some real highlights to be caught, too. Not only is the exhibit at the V&A displaying some of the earliest surviving Chanel garments from 1916, but also original costumes designed by Chanel for Ballet Russes, as well as outfits created by the designer for the likes of Lauren Bacall and Marlene Dietrich. Also featured: early models of the evening trousers that made Chanel famous and pieces from her final collection in 1971.
The exhibit will have ten themed sections, which will explore how her fashionable point of view evolved over the course of the 20th century, leaving an indelible footprint on the fashion world. And of course, the exhibition will also highlight Chanel’s British inspirations as partnerships as well, given that it is taking place in the UK.
Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto will run from September 16 to February 24, 2024 at the V&A in South Kensington.