As a symbol of Chanel's style and elegance, the jacket takes its place as one of the House’s icons. Endlessly desirable and reinvented with each season, its modernity and apparent simplicity make it an indispensable item in any woman’s wardrobe.

Conceived by Mademoiselle Chanel in the 1950s and inspired by Austrian jackets for men, this tailored jacket, when combined with a skirt reaching just below the knee line, became Chanel’s classic suit. In direct contrast to the tight, restricting styles of the 1950s, this suit offers complete freedom of movement.
This suit jacket in tweed - one of Mademoiselle Chanel’s favourite fabrics - is straight and structured, buttoned up edge-to-edge and conceived to fit like a second skin, without shoulder pads and stiffening which would only bring it rigidity.

To achieve suppleness while maintaining shape, the fabric is put together on the straight grain without any darts on the bust line. The same for the back with just a simple seam down the middle. A vertical panel on the sides joins the jacket’s front to the back. The sleeves are cut on the straight grain and are attached at the top of the shoulder. They are slightly angled at the elbow, so as to take on the line of the arm and move easily with it, providing perfect comfort.
Mademoiselle Chanel was greatly attached to this freedom of movement and took her customers’ measurements with their arms crossed on the shoulders.
Braiding outlines the jacket’s shape, the edge of the pockets and sleeves, strengthening its graphic quality.

The pockets are positioned, so that the woman may slide her hands inside them, something seen as a relatively masculine gesture in Mademoiselle Chanel’s day.
Jewelled buttons stamped with lion heads (Mademoiselle Chanel’s star sign was leo), ears of wheat and double 'C' emblems button the jacket up. To this model, Mademoiselle Chanel would add Baroque-style costume jewellery, a 2.55 bag, two-toned shoes, and maybe a camellia from among the accessories that marked her style.

Today, this jacket has become one of Chanel’s icons, and with each season it receives a new lease on life in the hands of Karl Lagerfeld, but even if its proportions and materials change, the principles of its construction remain identical.

Guangzhou Opera House
No 1, Zhujiang Xi Lu, Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe District,
510623 Guangzhou, China
Opening hours: 10am-7pm Monday to Sunday
Free entrance
January 16 - March 3, 2013

© Photo Marie Liszkay



Organised in partnership with the Guangdong Museum of Art, this new exhibition has once again been entrusted to Jean-Louis Froment, the curator of the two previous Culture Chanel exhibitions. This event will take place at the Guangzhou Opera House, designed by the architect Zaha Hadid, from January 16th to March 3rd, 2013.

Based on the longstanding links between Chanel and the arts, this exhibition centres on Pablo Picasso’s stage backdrop, designed and created by him for the 1924 ballet, Le Train Bleu (The Blue Train). This major work, conserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, has been exceptionally lent by the museum for this occasion. Le Train Bleu, a ballet produced by Serge Diaghilev, owes its name to the train that once linked Paris with the Côte d’Azur. He commissioned Darius Milhaud as composer, Jean Cocteau as librettist, Henri Laurens as set designer, Pablo Picasso for the programme and backdrop, and Mademoiselle Chanel as costume designer.

Gabrielle Chanel’s creative and intimate world is traced out like filigree when seen through the different artists who contributed to Le Train Bleu’s creation. She maintained a lifelong dialogue with them and their friendship gave impetus to her extraordinary creative output. This freedom of thought, combined with the desire to liberate the body through movement expressed at the turn of the 20th century (whether in sport or dance), are two fundamental aspects of the Chanel style.
Starting from a perceptive reading and a deconstruction of the different elements in the backdrop, the exhibition develops around five themes derived from the standpoints: Breathe, Move, Love, Dream and Invent.

These themes, that underpin the creative universe and values of Chanel, are evoked through 400 works, including photographs, drawings, paintings, manuscripts, books, films and creations from fashion (from Mademoiselle Chanel to Karl Lagerfeld), as well as from watchmaking, fine jewellery and fragrances.
Among the pieces exhibited visitors will discover for the first time around thirty previously unseen drawings by Pablo Picasso from a private collection, along with drawings by Amedeo Modigliani that are portraits of the major protagonists involved in Le Train Bleu’s creation.
Conceived to be an “exhibition in 5 acts with 1 painting”, these five themes ultimately lead visitors towards the exhibition’s masterpiece - the backdrop by Picasso.

Photo Jean Moral © Brigitte Moral


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