Photography Jordan Drysdale

Inside the NGV's epic new Chanel exhibition

Yan Yan Chan takes us on a tour of opening night.

by Yan Yan Chan
|
07 December 2021, 2:33am

Photography Jordan Drysdale

Stepping into the National Gallery of Victoria’s newly opened Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto exhibition feels a lot like exploring the DNA of the century-old luxury brand. Sparkly black corridors split with ivory coloured neon lines—honouring the house code—lead you on a journey through the pioneering designer’s life and career. From opening her first milliner’s shop in 1909 and the creation of the Chanel Nº5 perfume in 1921, right through to the 1970s and the various iterations of her iconic tweed Chanel suit, you’re taken on a deep dive of the designer's ideas and legacy over the years.

Wandering through mirror-panelled rooms strategically dotted with key designs—from sensible suits to elaborate opera dresses—and large-scale photos and videos of the artist at work, the story of how Chanel liberated the female form and wardrobe with her innovative approach to fabric and construction neatly unfolds. Rooms dedicated to Chanel jewellery and cosmetics are further highlights. If you’re keen on more detail, there’s even the option of an audio-guided tour by none other than Tilda Swinton.

Between braving Melbourne’s wild storms, Yan Yan Chan, along with photographer Jordan Drysdale, documented her night and favourite moments from the exhibition.

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Kitty Callaghan and I at the entrance to 'Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto'. Described as "a sort of uniform for all women of taste", these were our uniforms for the night. Chills.
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A moment with Emma, behind us is one of my favourite photos taken by Horst P.Horst.
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Through my eyes.
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Timeless.
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I am always in awe of the craftsmanship and tireless hours involved in these pieces. It truly was a magical moment observing the detailing in each of these jackets.
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A room full of romantic tweed dating back to 1965. The pink, distinct in today's runway is a favourite.
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Actress Erana James in her tweed.
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Hi Manahou Mackay.
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Budjerah reclining. Like the quote implies, simplifying, never adding - this is my motto in life! Less is always more.
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Lily and Tyrone. A lot of hugs and reunions within the walls of the NGV.
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The Lastlings, brother and sister duo Amy and Josh Dowdle.
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Look who I bumped into. Vicki Lee & Nicole Warne. Sparkly tweed and sparklier hearts.
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When they say the arts bring people together, they really do! Here's Phoebe Tonkin fresh off a flight and straight into a night of festivities.
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A life-sized bathroom, holding archive pieces.
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Gabrielle.
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The dresses.
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The end.

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto will be on display at NGV International, Melbourne, from 4 December 2021 – 25 April 2022. For information and tickets visit the NGV website.

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Australia
Chanel
NGV
Exhibition
Clothes
Chanel Exhibition