Exhibition Is Chanel’s Latest Attempt To Branch Out In China’s Most Cosmopolitan City
Chanel’s recent obsession with Shanghai has been well documented over the past year, with the city providing the backdrop for Chanel’s Metier d’Arts collection in the city last December, the inspiration for limited-edition items to commemorate the Shanghai World Expo and the venue for Chanel’s “Paris-Shanghai” exhibition at Plaza 66. This coming January, Chanel and Shanghai will again join together for the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai’s “Culture Chanel” exhibition, which looks at the disparate elements that have influenced the fashion house over the past century. The 400 items included in the exhibition, which will be curated by the French art director and critic Jean-Louis Froment with the help of Chanel, will include clothing, movies, artwork and manuscripts.
The exhibit is not chronological, but it spans the history of Chanel from its origins under the artistic direction of founder Gabrielle Chanel to present day. A key aspect of Culture Chanel is about Gabrielle’s rapports with artists of her heyday since she was a fixture among Parisian literary and artistic circles. She counted Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso among her friends and composer Igor Stravinsky among her lovers.
MoCA is no stranger to fashion-oriented displays. In 2008, it organized the exhibit “Salvatore Ferragamo’s Evolving Legend 1928-2008,” in honor of the 80th anniversary of the Italian fashion house.
Shanghai’s pursuit to reclaim its former status as the “Paris of the East” appears to be progressing smoothly, at least in terms of the city’s ability to attract — and inspire — the world’s fashion and luxury elite. As Jing Daily wrote last spring,
Looking to bring together east and west, both in terms of design as well as marketing, many brands are eyeing Shanghai as a source of inspiration. [In January 2010], Prada teamed up with the Chinese artist and filmmaker Yang Fudong to produce the short film “First Spring,” and that same month Karl Lagerfeld held the Metier d’Arts showat the newly opened Chanel boutique on the Bund. Also in January, David Lynch filmed his “Lady Dior” advertisement with Marion Cotillard in Shanghai. Clearly, the former (and perhaps once again) “Paris of the East” is the place to be for the world’s top luxury brands.
“Culture Chanel” will run at the MoCA Shanghai from January 15-March 14, 2011.