Chanel is celebrating and revisiting its iconic little black jacket with a photographic collaboration between the fashion house’s head designer and creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, and former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfeld.
Photographs taken by Karl Lagerfeld of 109 models and celebrities wearing the little black jacket are captured in a book and displayed in a touring exhibition, which is currently being hosted by the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London until November 28, 2012.
Karl Lagerfeld explains “The Chanel jacket is a man’s jacket, which has become a typically feminine piece. It has crossed that boundary. It has become the symbol of a certain feminine elegance, nonchalant and timeless.”
In the spacious exhibition rooms of the Saatchi Gallery, the portraits wonderfully show off the varied looks and styles of the little black jacket. Carine Roitfeld explains “It is an easy piece, you can do a lot with it. You can wear it with jeans, over an evening dress, you can see it on a ballet dancer. It suits everyone, it is an incredible piece. It is almost like a jean jacket, but very elegant.”
Certain photographs stand out, in particular a profile of Tilda Swinton, a shot of Anna Wintour with her iconic hair bob facing away from the camera, and Carine Roitfeld herself, wearing drapes of long pearl rope necklaces.
Under the creative drive of Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion house is still setting a trend. Earlier this month, Chanel displayed a spectacular Spring Summer 2013 fashion show in Paris at the Grand Palais. The stadium sized floor plan had photovoltaic-effect flooring and lines of majestic wind turbines rotating gently and synchronously as the models wandered the spectacular catwalk.
The Spring Summer 2013 collection beautifully captured the fashion house’s founding attributes of simplicity, luxury and reserve. The collection included Chanel’s black and white colours, but was also lightened with unthreatening reds, blues and greens. The love of Chanel for pearl jewellery was reinvented into bold bundles of oversized faux pearls worn as choker necklaces and bracelets. Also in the collection, pearls of small or larger sizes were scattered across skirts and jackets in the form of patterns or more functionally presented as buttons.
Bringing together the arts, with fashion, jewellery design, and photography, the little black jacket exhibition is an alternative, but nonetheless inspiring look into Chanel’s unique world.