In Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment at 31 rue Cambon, the bookshelves of her library line the walls ...

September 16, 2016

In Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment at 31 rue Cambon, the bookshelves of her library line the walls with the reassuring presence of the authors who would teach her how to construct and embody her life’s work. In a similar manner to the poets and writers she admired, Gabrielle Chanel managed to impose a vocabulary and a style, and eventually made a novel out of her own life.

The Culture Chanel exhibition focuses on the essential links between her and certain male writers she knew specifically her encounters with Paul Morand, Jean Cocteau, and with Reverdy. The creations of Chanel still resonate today with mysteries that lie in her Paris apartment.

“The exhibition Culture Chanel, La donna che legge, is the cast shadow of Gabrielle Chanel’s secret memory. I imagined this exhibition forgetting all the images of her life, but submerged in the fragrances of her library, looking over her shoulder I slowly came closer to what’s most intimate, profound – the undisclosed light of her readings still reflected in her creations,” said Jean-Louis Froment, the curator of the exhibition.

Throughout her lifetime, books were what remained closest to her. Still today, on the walls of her famous apartment in rue Cambon in Paris, the large calm landscapes of her library and those of the Coromandel screens much busier with images (yet also written) coexist side by side. Here, the smell of polished leather bindings still mixes with the fragrance of her favourite perfume, N°5.

This library which the public will discover in Venice brings together a selection of authors that passed through Gabrielle Chanel’s life, and also the books of artists she encountered, admired, often loved, and with whom she shared a perspective on the history of modernity.

Art objects from Gabrielle Chanel’s collection, which still occupy the apartment in rue Cambon in Paris, will be exhibited for the first time to the public, whereas paintings, drawings and manuscripts by the artists that enchanted the great couturière’s life will heighten the intimacy of this exhibition, “The woman who reads”.

The exhibition will run from September 17th to January 8th.


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