11 reasons why you should visit the Chanel Mademoiselle Privé exhibition in Hong Kong

An education

Text: Jolene Khor

We stepped into Chanel's interactive wonderland and discovered the essence of the historic house

What: Chanel Mademoiselle Privé exhibition
Where: PMQ, Hong Kong
When: January 13 to February 10, 2018

Anyone who calls themselves a Chanel fan knows this to be fact: 31 Rue Cambon is not simply an address in Paris. It is an institution unlike any other. It is the Mecca of style, the conservatory of innovation, a symbol of feminism. 31 Rue Cambon is not merely made of bricks and mortar; its structure strengthens over time with the decades of influence imbued in the geniuses that came after Gabrielle Chanel, beyond Karl Lagerfeld. It houses not just fibres and yarn that make up the clothes, but the existentialism of fashion itself.

Where Chanel established her brand in 1918, haute couture remained devoted throughout her life. Her famous art deco salon sat on the first floor, but the magic happened a little closer to heaven. On the upper levels were her creative studio (named Mademoiselle Privé), atelier and a private apartment in which she was often pictured.

Although those doors remain locked to the public — with the exception of the Chanel family and a handful of media members — the soul of Chanel is not. Reincarnated (at times, quite literally) in this exhibition, the travelling immersive experience Mademoiselle Privé finds home in Hong Kong for a limited time. 

Above, we walk you through the 10 highlights; below, a word with Chanel ambassador Irene Kim on how the house has remained and will continue to remain close to her heart.

What did you think of the exhibition? 
I was really impressed. I attended the Seoul opening and it was so different. The Hong Kong version comes from a different perspective. Chanel did a really great job integrating the Hong Kong signature — the red, the lights and the city vibe in the beginning of the exhibition mixed with all the elements of the house of Chanel which I loved and thought it's so cool. It's great to see it in a different city.

What's your biggest takeaway?
My biggest takeaway is how much of an inspiration and what an influence Chanel has been on fashion, on me, and on modern women. She was such an iconic person who made women feel independent and powerful and strong. You can really see that in the clothes, the attention to detail and the symbols she used, such as the lion. It's very empowering, very inspiring.

How has Chanel inspired you?
In every single way. One of my first big projects in middle school was Gabrielle Chanel. I did a huge presentation of her life — a timeline, all the iconic pieces... basically a biography project on her. It comes full circle now because I'm one of the ambassadors and it's a dream come true. So I'm living my dream.

Which is exactly what she would root for.

If you had to wear one Chanel piece displayed at the exhibition for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
I'd probably go with something from couture. There was a black, sparkly short-sleeved tweed jacket. It represents all the elements of Gabrielle Chanel — the tweed, the black, the structure, the couture. I'd wear it with jeans. Tweed looks so good with jeans.

Do you remember your first Chanel?
The first Chanel thing I bought for myself was probably the lipstick but I don't remember the colour. The pricier item that I bought was a pair of black Chanel ballet flats in college. They're about 10 years old and the bottoms are all worn out. I don't wear them anymore but I can't throw them away! They're still in my shoe closet.

What did you think of the Chanel's last show, the spring/summer 2018 collection?
It was so me! All the pastels and the PVC. The colours match my hair so I'm definitely wearing one of the pieces tonight (seen above in audio file picture). [Laughs] Chanel makes dressing really easy for me. I loved the show. Only Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can bring a waterfall indoors and make it work.


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