Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne
My dearest husband decided that we continue our little Parisian experience by getting tickets at the National Gallery of Victoria and visiting the iconic Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto. 

After all, he believes that I am beyond a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers. 

It was one of the best Valentine’s Day experiences, and I’m happy that I got a chance to visit the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

I felt some butterflies inside me seeing Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s many works and designs. As a new sustainable fashion designer myself, it was a great privileged to see firsthand Coco Chanel’s earliest designs and creations. 

She is truly a visionary. 

A pioneer influencer.





Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne
Premiered in Paris in 2020, ‘Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto’ makes it to Melbourne and the first international stop outside its original residence. This exhibition is presented by the National Gallery of Victoria in partnership with the Palais Galleira, city of Paris Fashion Museum, and with the support of CHANEL. 

The exhibition is also NGV’s major summer exhibition for 2021. 

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

The Fashion Manifesto was the first pandemic-era exhibition for the venerable fashion museum, which had reopened after extensive renovations. It was also the first large-scale retrospective of Chanel’s work in the city she mostly called home.

When you think of Chanel, you think of the clothes. But what you’ll learn after touring The National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) summer spectacular Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto is that she left a much more significant imprint. Womanhood and fashion were forever altered and liberated thanks to Chanel’s earliest designs and have continued to be reimagined long after her last.

Surrounding this larger-than-life portrait hanging in the National Gallery of Victoria is a sample of a lifetime of Chanel’s work, more than 230 exhibits from the signature tweed suit and little black dress to the two-tone shoes, the quilted purse, and distinctive perfume bottles.

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

What some might not expect at the NGV’s tweed-filled ode to the late Coco Chanel is the ‘jewellery box’ room placed midway through your pilgrimage through the era. Of course, Chanel and gold chains or intricate broaches are synonymous, but the extravagant opulence of that room feels so starkly juxtaposed with the garments bookmarking it. It’s “austere simplicity”, as one placard read, but there are these little elements of surprise and delight in every piece pedestaled.

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne





The CHANEL Suit

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

In 1954 aged seventy-one, Gabrielle Chanel reopened her fashion house. Repudiating the constraining ‘New Look’ style, she advocated for restrained chic and utility in clothing.

Chanel’s post-war suit, a synthesis of the principles that contributed to her prewar success, was the culmination of her vision of modern femininity. All aspects of its construction were defined with the female body in mind – a perfect balance of silhouette, materials, and purpose. In 1959, Vogue Paris announced: ‘Every suit holds the secrets of Chanel luxury. And this luxury is in the details.’
The Chanel suit was the embodiment of freedom. Without padding, the lightweight jacket hung straight like a cardigan. The skirt, instead of hugging the waist, rested on the upper hips, tilting slightly backward and hanging below the knee; it was comfortable, supple, and allowed for greater ease of movement. 





The fabric was also crucial. Tweed – plain and textured or sometimes handwoven, was a hallmark, chosen for its luxuries feel and specially produced in a variety of shades. Trims and braids in contrasting colors added to the distinctiveness of the design and delineated the silhouette, while pockets decorative and functional buttons and a hidden gilt chain became further signatures. 

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

The only part of Gabrielle Chanel that wasn’t touched on in the exhibition is about her dark past during WWII, a very sensitive topic of her arrest in 1944 after the liberation of Paris, and her interrogation as a Nazi collaborator. 

Hundreds of biographies mentioned this dark story, however, the NGV exhibition is all about the story of her work, and not her as a woman, although it is also noted her resilience and positive outlook in life, from a rug-to-riches achievement, including her interesting life as a single woman during her era. 

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne

It’s an exhibition that is not just for the fashion lover. It’s part social history, part design, part personal exploration.

After visiting the museum, we headed to Chadstone and got my new bottle of Chanel No. 5.

Experience Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto in Melbourne




Ticket Prices:

Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto will run from 5 December 2021 to 25 April 2022 on the ground floor of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Tickets will cost $30 for adults, $10 for children, and a $28 concession. NGV Gallery members can purchase tickets for $25. The gallery will also have family packages for purchase.

The Gallery can be found at 180 St Kilda Road Melbourne.






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38 comments :

  1. I love this idea and Chanel really is such a classic brand, right? Their clothes are just beautiful.

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    1. I am amazed how these fabric are all preserved in pristine condition! Good quality of clothes last for generations.

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  2. I am always trying to learn more about fashion and the designers. This article was very fun to read, as well as, looking at the different outfits and their distinguishing design

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    1. Thanks Joyce! Io lucky to visit this exhibition, like bring Paris here in Melbourne.

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  3. Just amazing! The dress with feathers print, unreal! Very impressive.

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    1. I've been staring at it for more than 10-mins, deciphering the applique-technique being used.

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  4. The chanel suit looks fascinating. It's always great to visit such places and learn more about old fashion

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  5. I like how they have everything set up for you to view, what a neat place to visit.

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  6. I love the classy gold jewelry! So pretty!

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    1. That's true! I'm not sure if they still make this kind of design anymore.

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  7. such a great way to spend Valentines... especially when you're into clothes, too. by the way, love your shoes!

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    1. I can't afford getting my own Chanel clothes, so visiting this museum is perfect. Also, I opt for a Chanel parfum after our tour.

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  8. Obsessed with all of these vintage Chanel's! Great share!

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  9. Some of these are gorgeous, others aren't really up my street! But I can really appreciate the craftsmen ship in all of them.

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  10. Such timeless designs and most of all, an incredibly unique and thoughtful experience this was! I have a pair of red Chanel eyeglass frames that I can't ever let go and always keep current lenses in!

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  11. Ang gaganda ng mga dresses / suit at ang classy nung mga jewelryz. BTW ang cute ng outfit mo and bet ko yung shoes mo.

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    1. I was mesmerized and didn't realized that CHANEL created bold jewelry, parang Dolce and Gabbana style.
      Thanks for appreciating my dress! I made it recently using our pre-loved bedsheet :)
      I got those shoes from Converse, a limited-edition design for Lunar New Year 2022.

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  12. These looks cool dresses and love the jewelries. They just looks amazing and the new design in both is awesome as well.

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    1. I noticed that the color palettes that they used are very classic, and bold enough during that era. It was a good experience.

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  13. Chanel is indeed one of a kind brand. Very exquisite, vintage and supremely fashionable.

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  14. Very informative and great designs! Thank you

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  15. Love these clean and. classy fashion +++ those nice jewelries too! *drool

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  16. wow all of the dresses are impresive

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  17. super loved the tweed line and its happy colors! but of course, i love your ootd as well!

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I loved getting to see the photos you included! Definitely want to visit the exhibit!

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  19. Everything is so fascinating! Love to learn about fashion too!

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  20. The clothing and jewelry are absolutely gorgeous. I would love to see this all in person for myself. Also your outfit is super cute!

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  21. Nnnniiiccceeeee...it is good seeing this side of Chanel! And I love your shoes, gurl!

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    1. Thanks! That's a Converse shoes from their limited-edition Lunar New Year collection.

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