I saw adverts for this exhibition all over my social media 2 months ago. The Mademoiselle Prive promotions combined cool character animations of Coco Chanel and a look through her design process. The process of how Coco Chanel came to build her brand and how the current Chanel still uses her history to define the brand today, is what keeps the brand moving forward. The Mademoiselle Prive exhibition has come to Seoul, and is being showcased at the D-Museum. I went to check it out over the weekend.
The Mademoiseelle Prive was held at the D-museum, one of a family of three museums across Seoul that focuses on contemporary art, lifestyle and design. The D-Museum is situated in Hannam-dong and you will have to take a bus to reach it, as it lies upon a hill. I won’t lie I struggled a bit to find the place.
As it’s July in Korea, the wait to get in, even with a reservation, is a bit long. So arrive early!
What is Mamemoiselle Prive?
Mademoiselle Prive in English literally means the The Private Madame, in other words this exhibition aimed to show the more personal and private side of Gabrielle Chanel and her creation of her brand. It ultimately aims to take you into an in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes processes of Coco Chanel psychologically and professionally in various abstract spaces through the exhibition. This allows you to experience and capture the mindset of the brand and its creator over the years from her hat shop, dresser, personal preferences and move into fashion.
The hat shop was Coco Chanel’s first store and independent stand into the world of fashion. The room also has an illustrated dresser and some animation where she comes into the dressing table mirror to take a string of pearls. Her “voice” can be heard around the room talking of her love for pearls and her thoughts. This room, is young and fresh in its layout, which conveys the young Chanel in her introduction to fashion.
The Mind of the Madam
In the next room we see various pillars and symbols relating to Coco Chanel and the brand. It was said Coco Chanel had a deep love for symbolism, and in her apartment on Rue Cambon in Paris, she decorated every nook and cranny with these symbols. There’s the No.5 Robot, a deep red carnelian post, pearls, and ornate Asian-designed door and a figure made of ropes.
Number 5 was considered the lucky number of Coco Chanel, as it was the same number of the formula she would choose to be her infamous perfume. She would use the number 5 in everything. She also had a love for red carnelian stones and she loved the rich designs of the Far east. In her apartment, you will find various vases, doors and cupboards she would import from the Far East and display them in in her rooms.
This was one of the coolest installations. A room devoted to the process and creation of the No. 5 perfume. You walk through a futuristic booth where you are met with a screen of various flower petals. Behind, lies a wall of bronze industrial pipes all with protruding sniffing apparatuses with the perfumes to smell.
So in this section, we walk through yards of hanging cotton. As you walk you, you see some animations and hear private conversations of female clients having their fittings done in Chanel’s atelier. The dim lighting, and soft drapes create a very sensual atmosphere as you feel like you are walking through a personal space.
In this part, we see how Chanel’s brand has matured and her life an career revolves around her designs and work. Cutting, fabrics, sewing and fittings rule the Madam’s day.
On another note, the hanging drapes and sheets can also denote Chanel’s personal side as a mistress. Her position as mistress to the wealthy and elite also had a large influence and contribution to the success and financing of her business.
In the final room, we are met with triumphant music. We see the faces and designs that make up Chanel the fashion brand today. Select pieces from the couture collections are on display with large floating images of Chanel’s ambassadors today.
At the end of the room, we see some Chanel’s more recent jewellery collection. A move away from the iconic pearls. The displays show a more recent collection of diamonds and stars.
One of Karl Lagerfeld’s short fictional films of Chanel and other characters in a fantasy- adventure of sorts set in the 1920s. The last room, showcases photographs the brands ambassadors from across the world.
I think the exhibit was a fresh take on another look inside the history and core elements that make up the brand from the past to today. They really show creativity through this promotion and exhibition, as they use various rooms and spaces to again re-tell the history of Chanel and its creator. It is an experience that uses the sensations of sight, smell and touch. The interior and design for the exhibition was beautiful and on point.
What was also interesting was how much it promoted and incorporated social media into the exhibit. Free Mademoiselle WIFI was available, downloading the new app and the rooms offered many photo opportunities to share.
The presence of Chanel in Seoul is continuing to grow, with new brand ambassadors such as, G-Dragon, for its every-growing Asian market.
The way in which the exhibition was marketed also spoke directly to the Korean market. Its use of technology, characters and social media achieved that. Chanel continues to be a strong fashion influence and love for Korean fashion lovers and an inspirational brand. It’s no secret spending is a part f daily life in Korea, and consumers want more than just the product…but also the entire experience. We all got free tote bags at the end of the exhibit.
The exhibition runs until the 19th July. Admission is free and can be done through reservation through the phone app “Mademoiselle Prive”.
Check out the video of he exhibition highlights here: