After a triumphant debut in Tokyo, Chanel’s ‘Little Black Jacket’ Project made its way to the vibrant, glittering city of Hong Kong, via Tokyo, New York and Taipei. The exhibition finds snug home at the Space Gallery, on the charming Hollywood Road, where it will stay from the 7th to 16th July.
Karl’s intimate black and white portraits hang on pale grey walls in the two-storey gallery nestled in the midst of an area known for art galleries, Chinese antique furniture stores and small independent boutiques. Just down the road is the famed 150-year-old Man Mo Temple. On the hot, balmy evening that ‘Little Black Jacket’ was unveiled, the city’s glitterati came out in full force for the event. The jacket might have been black but the crowd was certainly colourful. A newly blonde French actress Cecile Cassel flew into Hong Kong along with actress Elisa Sednaoui who sparkled in a plunging floor length dress.
Chinese movie star Tang Wei, fresh from multiple awards wins at Korean film festivals, came to the opening and pointed out her favourite from Lagerfeld’s over 100 portraits: a large scale print of 4 year old Scarlett Utzmann Huynh. The ever-stylish digital artist Yi Zhou also joined. Noted local faces at the gallery included famed songstress Joey Yung, Hong Kong’s most noted lyricist and style maker Wyman Wong and Hilary Tsui, boutique owner and fashion figure. They had all styled their own little black Chanel jackets to distinctive effect.
Just as Karl Lagerfeld expresses the Mademoiselle’s fascination with Asia in inspired designs, so Asia’s fascination with Chanel continues to be still, ever strong. Celebrity make up artist Zing, who is an avid collector of modern and vintage Chanel jackets, was delighted to see the exhibit hit Hong Kong. Zing has been wearing little black Chanel jackets for years. And why not? The walls show Karl and Carine’s men don the garment in a nod to the men’s uniforms that originally inspired Mademoiselle’s aesthetic.
The Hong Kong skyline is one that comes alive after dark, and as the sun set on this vernissage, crowds hopped next door to the after party. Musician Choi Sai Ho entertained an eclectic crowd of VIPs.“ Fashion isn’t just present in dresses,” Coco Chanel once said.
“Fashion is in the air, it’s borne by the wind, we sense it, we breathe it, it’s in the sky and on the tarmac, it’s everywhere, it comes from ideas, custom, events...”
Occasionally, the acuity of something new, like this exhibition, can touch on a sense of timelessness. And in fast paced Hong Kong, that is cause for celebration indeed.
Photo by Frédéric David