HomeFashionThe V&A's Chanel exhibition has been extended – here's everything you need...

The V&A’s Chanel exhibition has been extended – here’s everything you need to know


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The V&A Museum’s much-anticipated Chanel exhibition, dedicated to the life and work of pioneering designer Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, has been a resounding success, with tickets selling out almost as soon as they were released.

The Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto show, which is the first UK exhibition of its kind, charts the evolution of her designs and the establishment of the house of Chanel – from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to the showing of her final collection in 1971.

The exhibition has been so popular that an extension to its run was recently announced. Previously slated to finish on 25 February 2024, the exhibit will now be available to visit until 10 March 2024.

Here are all the further details you need, from what the exhibition covers to how to get tickets…

Courtesy of the V&A

What does Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto cover?

The exhibition features more than 200 looks by the French couturière – the first time they will have all been displayed together – alongside jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and fragrance. The installation also features rarely seen pieces from the V&A’s own collection, alongside archive pieces from Chanel’s heritage collections – including clothing worn by Hollywood stars like Lauren Bacall and Marlene Dietrich.

gabrielle chanel fashion manifesto at the va

Courtesy of the V&A

“As one of the most successful fashion houses in existence, Chanel owes much to the templates first laid down by its founder Gabrielle Chanel, over a century ago,” said Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, when the exhibition was first announced. “We are delighted to be partnering with Chanel and the Palais Galliera on this exhibition, which provides us with the opportunity to explore the origins and elements of this enduring style and to display little-known historic Chanel garments from the V&A collection.”

Which famous pieces are included in the exhibition?

Gabrielle Chanel paved the way for a revolutionary new kind of femininity through her work, the legacy of which continues to inspire and influence the way we dress today. By creating clothes that she herself wanted to wear, she was able to anticipate the wants and needs of the modern, more independent, 20th century woman – seen through her now iconic use of tweed jackets and tailored trousers.

the french couturier and fashion designer gabrielle coco chanel 1883 1971 photo by © hulton deutsch collectioncorbiscorbis via getty images

Hulton Deutsch//Getty Images

gabrielle chanel fashion manifesto at the va

Courtesy of the V&A

The exhibition is split into 10 themed sections, exploring Chanel’s innovative approach to fabric, silhouette and construction. There are plenty of well-known pieces on display, from the famous little black dress, the 2.55 handbag and the much-loved tweed suit, to two-tone slingback heels and Chanel’s iconic debut perfume, N°5, it’s a highly researched deep-dive into the life and career of one of the world’s most famous designers.

“Gabrielle Chanel boldly redefined the modern women’s wardrobe,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel fashion. “We are honoured and delighted that the V&A, such a world leading museum and great institution, will stage the first UK retrospective of her work. By showcasing her contribution to the history of fashion as well as the incredible relevance and permanence of the Chanel style, this exhibition will highlight one of the greatest visionaries of our time.”

gabrielle chanel fashion manifesto at the va

Courtesy of the V&A

Does Gabriella Chanel. Fashion Manifesto cover the designer’s personal life?

The exhibition is rich in biographical detail, including Chanel’s activities during the second world war – it was recently discovered that she helped the Allies during the war effort – and her relationship with Hugh Grosvenor, the then Duke of Westminster.

There are also several personal touches from other famous faces, including the late Queen Elizabeth II: a letter in the exhibition, from her to Frederick ‘Boy’ Browning, thanks him for his present of Chanel perfume. “As usual, you have discovered just the very thing I particularly wanted,” she writes, “and I want to thank you very much indeed for the birthday present of the Chanel scent”.

gabrielle chanel fashion manifesto at the va

Courtesy of the V&A

How can I get tickets for the exhibition, and for how long will it run?

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto opened on 16 September 2023 and was so immediately popular, its run time was extended from late February until 10 March 2024. It’s been a scramble to get tickets (which are now sold out) but members can still see the show – find out more about becoming a member of the V&A here.

gabrielle chanel fashion manifesto at the va

Courtesy of the V&A

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