Now On: Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé Exhibition in Seoul


By Cai Mei Khoo

Now On: Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé Exhibition in Seoul

Debuting at the Saatchi Gallery in London two years ago, Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé exhibition continues its journey and lands at the D Museum in Seoul for its next instalment. Capturing the heart and soul of the brand, the exhibition is an immersive experience that focuses on haute couture designs by Karl Lagerfeld, the iconic Chanel No. 5 fragrance and re-editions of the Bijoux de Diamants collection, the only high jewellery collection designed by Gabrielle Chanel in 1932.


Digital touches abound, lending a touch of futurism to the exhibition—at the entrance, the Mademoiselle Privé poster can be scanned by the camera on the dedicated Mademoiselle Privé app, which offers the visitor a taste of augmented reality. The ceiling light screen above is rendered in prints borrowed from Gabrielle Chanel’s beloved coromandel lacquered screens, while the holographic stairs lead down to the first floor, to the very beginning of the Chanel story—Gabrielle Chanel’s very first boutique in Deauville. The next room celebrates the totems that pay homage to the House’s codes, symbols that were important in Gabrielle Chanel’s work, and which Karl Lagerfeld continues to be inspired by, pearls, lucky numbers, wheat sheaths, and the camellia, reinterpreted especially for this exhibition by Korean artist, Jiyong Lee.

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Further on, an experiential olfactory room that houses the different scents that make up the Chanel No. 5 fragrance, held in glass vials that you can sniff from—May rose, ylang ylang, jasmine, sandalwood and aldehydes. Outside the No. 5 chamber, a maze of fabrics hung from the ceiling in varying shades of beige lead you up a flight of stairs to the Studio Door, where via AR, the door opens to Gabrielle Chanel working within. It is past this door where the haute couture pieces lie. The pinnacle of luxury, haute couture celebrates the creativity, craftsmanship and innovation of Chanel. “What I like in haute couture is that it is devilishly done,” said Karl Lagerfeld.


To one side is a screening room that showcases short movies directed by Karl Lagerfeld, including ‘Visite Nocturne‘, an imaginary conversation between Karl Lagerfeld and Gabrielle Chanel, played by Geraldine Chaplin.


It is perhaps the final part of the Mademoiselle Privé journey that is the most breathtaking. Glass columns encase the re-editions of Gabrielle Chanel’s Bijoux de Diamants collection, a dazzling array of jewellery in the form of stars and shooting stars dripping with diamonds, Gabrielle’s favourite gem. “I wanted to shower women in constellations,” she said. In the adjacent, final room, are black and white portraits of celebrities and friends of the house, including Caroline de Maigret, G-Dragon and Soo Joo Park, wearing the Bijoux de Diamants collection, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld.  

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If the exhibition leaves you wanting more, head upstairs to the fourth floor of the museum, where workshops with Lesage (embroiderer), Lemarié (feather and flower maker), high jewellery (gouache-coloured drawing technique), and Chanel No. 5 (immersive experience) will be held but be sure to make reservations for these workshops in advance.


The Mademoiselle Privé Seoul exhibition runs from 23 June – 19 July 2017 and is held at D Museum, Seoul. Click here to download the app for more information and to reserve your ticket. 


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