Shanghai 2011. In a mix-match globalized new Chinese society, Chinese citizens can better understand branding, brands and the history behind them thanks to educational exhibitions such as "Culture Chanel" which just opened in Shanghai. On the private viewing afternoon, I grabbed a cup of green tea latte on People's square, and walked by the Shanghai museum where my videos were still on at the Shanghai Biennial, then finally got to MoCA. (Photo 1, click here to see all images in a new window)
The exhibition starts with a Karl Lagerfeld's piece as an interpretation about Gabrielle Chanel's childhood spent at the orphanage in Aubazine, Corrèze (France). The monastery's architecture elements and the nuns' style have inspired Coco Chanel's imagination and her future style as a designer. (Photo 2)
The exhibition is curated by Jean-Louis Froment and all the see-through plexiglass plinths were made in France and shipped to China for the exhibition. They enhanced the beauty of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld's works juxtaposed with modern paintings and sculptures. I liked the fact that each screw was protected by a plastic element which showed that the finishing of each exhibition was as important as the artworks contained in it. (Photo 3)
Chanel News asked me to take a self-portrait with my Leica at the exhibition venue. (Photo 4)
The camellia definitely is a trademark that has always defined Chanel as a brand. It was said that Gabrielle Chanel was very moved by Sarah Bernhardt's interpretation of "The Lady of the Camellias" by Alexander Dumas. (Photo 5)
It was also said that Gabrielle Chanel was inspired by dandies, such as Marcel Proust, who had a camellia pinned onto his jacket.
Marcel Proust in the garden of Reynaldo Hahn
Collection Snark/Art Resource, New York (USA)
A great photograph of Olga Picasso with Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso: both artists were very close to the designer.
Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky and Olga Picasso in Juan-les-Pins (France)
Collection Fondation Paul Sacher, Collection Igor Stravinsky, Bâle (Switzerland)
In the evening, we got dressed up in Haute Couture to attend the MoCA opening. For the occasion, I invited Paul Andreu, a French architect who designed the Roissy Airport Terminal 1 in Paris at the age of 29. He has also contributed to a number of significant architectural projects in China. He traveled to Shanghai for his solo exhibition that is displaying drawings, so, it was a perfect occasion to gather together at the MoCA and celebrate the "Culture Chanel" exhibition about artists and Chanel. (Photo 8)
At last, I got home and opened the catalogue "Culture Chanel". The catalogue is a giant 400 pages book, made with 5 different kinds of papers beautifully printed in Beijing. After such an inspiring day, it was time to pack up my suitcases and get ready for my departure to Park City, where my latest 3D animation "The Greatness" will be in competition at Sundance Film Festival. (Photo 9)
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: The Great Gig In The Sky (Written by Rick Wright)
Album: The Dark Side Of The Moon
On the 7th of December Karl Lagerfeld left it to the Byzantine Empress Theodora to receive us in the Salons of rue Cambon, customized to become the decor for the show.
Mat gold walls, painted mosaics, poufs and beaded curtains, scents of orange blossom and fresh mint… these are just some of the elements that she carefully chose to set the scene for the Paris-Byzance collection.
Sound speakers veiled by wall hangings unleash the poignant sounds of 'Dark Side of The Moon' by Pink Floyd, one of her favorite bands.
In the 17th Century, she adored Lully, Mozart amused her in the 18th, in the 19th she succumbed to the charms of Saint-Saëns and Debussy but, of all the musical expeditions infused with a hint of the Orient, it is the psychedelic trip of Pink Floyd that won out, appealing to her through the idea of an inner journey without limits or frontiers when high fidelity is a question of acoustics and nothing else.
The result is a musical mosaic that perfectly partners the Byzantine embroideries and links Constantinople with Paris by celestial paths that give the models the impression of walking on cushions of air with their arabesque heels.
Theodora approves when Freja closes the show to the sound of 'The Great Gig In The Sky', leading the way for the final parade of this collection which pays tribute to the know-how of the Métiers d’Art artisans.
Artist: Maxence Cyrin
Title: Behind The Wheel (Depeche Mode) (Written by Martin Gore)
Album: Modern Rhapsodies
After the traditional Passeggieta, a leisurely stroll through the world of Chanel - doll houses, Haute Couture gowns compressed under sheets of Plexiglas, a peek into the pocket of a 2.55 bag - the guests at Palazzo Morando were treated to a performance by the pianist Maxence Cyrin.
Having always been fascinated by electronic music and pop music in general, Maxence Cyrin gives these piano melodies a very personal touch. He has released two albums ‘Modern Rhapsodies’ and ‘Novo Piano’, in which we can discover his interpretation of the favorite tunes that accompany him during his evening strolls.
For Chanel, he swaps his piano for a harpsichord painted in 17th Century style and plays melodies by Depeche Mode, Aphex Twin, Blur, Daft Punk, Pixies and Britney Spears… a mixture of different centuries that perfectly sees out the decade.