The photo to the left shows a black & white portrait of Gabrielle Chanel with her dog. The photo to the right shows ’Acrobats’ by Pablo Picasso.
The poster for the ‘Culture Chanel’ exhibition, featuring the portrait of Gabrielle Chanel by Man Ray, © Man Ray Trust/Adagp, 2010
(Image credit: TBC)

For every rule there's always an exception, and if Shanghai's Museum of Contemporary Art was going to break away from its mould and show its first-ever exhibition based solely around one designer - let alone dedicate all two floors to it - there was always going to have to be a pretty incredible name attached.

In what is a fashion and art voyeur's dream, 'Culture Chanel' delves into the world of Mademoiselle Chanel's ceative universe, pulling together Chanel designs through time, and connecting these dots to an extravaganza of the founder's artistic and literary influences in the process.

By bringing together works that span a century from some of the world's most important artists, the exhibition aims to go beyond the lines of fashion design, and looks to give visitors a taste of the artistic style and creative activities over multiple time periods that contributed to the identity and culture of Chanel today.

Curated by Jean-Louis Froment, there is a deliberate move away from the traditional chronological flow - instead things take on a methodical format through the five themes of 'Origin', 'Abstraction', 'Invisibility', 'Liberty' and 'Imaginary' in the MOCA space.

Not to be missed, is the intriguing and clever inter-locking of Chanel's designs, artworks, manuscripts and films, with a meaty backup of more than 400 painstakingly collated pieces of work, 100 of which have been borrowed from national museums and private collections for the occasion.

Poster of a Culture exhibition

The exhibition is taking place at Shanghai’s Museum of Contemporary Art until mid-March 2011

(Image credit: TBC)

Three art drawings

From left: Original ’Cométe’ brooch, created by Gabrielle Chanel for her exhibition ’Bijoux de Diamants’, 1932, © Photo Didier Roy

Pen and ink image taken from pavement of the abbey of Aubazine, the orphanage where Gabrielle Chanel lived, 1996, © Alexandre Céalac

1965 - 1980 Haute Couture collection, © Photo Olivier Saillant

Courtesy: Collection Chanel, Paris

(Image credit: Didier Roy, TBC, Olivier Saillant)

Three portraits

From left: Half-Length portrait of Catherine de’ Medici, by Francois Clouet, 16th century, © RMN (Domaine de Chantilly) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Gabrielle Chanel with a white collaret by George Hoyningen-Huene, 1939, © Horst

Carmen Kass wearing an outfit from Chanel’s 2009 Autumn/Winter ready-to-Wear collection, by Dusan Reljin, © Dusan Reljin

(Image credit: TBC)

Three women in fashion dresses

From Left: Costume design for Potiphar’s wife in ’Joseph’s Legend’ by Léon Bakst, 1914, © Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Theater and Dance Collection, don de Madame Adolph B. Spreckels

Gabrielle Chanel in front of the Coromandel screens of her apartment at 31 rue Cambon, Paris by Boris Lipnitzki, 1937, © Lipnitzki/Roger-Viollet

The ‘Coromandel’ coat by Karl Lagerfeld for the 1996 Autumn/Winter Chanel Haute Couture collection, © Photo Karl Lagerfeld

(Image credit: TBC, TBC, Karl Lagerfeld)

Three art pieces, two of them of women dancing

From Left: Portrait of Gabrielle Chanel with her dog, Gigot, at her villa ‘La Pausa’, in Roquebrune, France, circa 1930, from Collection Chanel, Paris, © D.R

’Acrobats’ by Pablo Picasso, 1905, © Collection Marina Picasso/Courtesy Galerie Jan Krugier & Cie, Genève (Suisse)/Succession, Picasso 2010

Barbara Palvin wearing an outfit from CHANEL’s 2010 Spring/Summer Ready-to-Wear collection by Martin Lidell, © D.R

(Image credit: TBC)

Three art pieces

From Left: Marcel Proust in the garden of Reynaldo Hahn, Photographe Inconnu, 1905, © Snark/Art Resource, NY

‘The Lady of the Camellias’ printed book, Alexandre Dumas Fils, 1858, © Musée de la Dame aux Camélias

Amber Valletta wearing an outfit from Chanel’s 1995 Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear collection

(Image credit: TBC, TBC, Peter Lindbergh)

Three pieces of fashion

From Left: Gabrielle Chanel leaning against a fireplace in her apartment, photo by Cecil Beaton, 1965, © Beaton/Vogue/Condé Nast Archive

Ear of Wheat by Salvador Dali, 1947, © Salvador Dali, Fondation Gala-Salvador Dali, ADAGP, Paris 2010

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel’s 2010 Spring/Summer Ready-to-Wear collection

(Image credit: Cecil Beaton, TBC, Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel)

Perfume design bottle and music notes

From Left: Cover project for the exhibition catalogue of 1921 by Alexander Rodchenko, © A. Rodchenko & V. Stepanova archive/ADAGP Paris 2010

Bottle of Chanel N°5 perfume, from Collection Chanel, Paris

‘The Five Fingers’ musical score by Igor Stravinsky, 1921, from Collection Chanel, Paris, © Copyright 1922 Chester Music Ltd worldwide

(Image credit: TBC, Didier Roy, TBC)

Picture of a woman

From Left: Vogue Paris, 1 November 1926, © Courtesy Vogue Paris

’Figure’ by Pablo Picasso, Avignon, © Marina Picasso Collection, courtesy Galerie Jan Krugier & Cie, Geneva / Succession Picasso 2010

Honor Fraser wearing a dress from Chanel’s 1996 Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear collection

(Image credit: TBC, TBC, Gilles Bensimon)

Evolution of a woman's head into a fashion piece

From Left: Head of ‘La Bernardine’, 15th/16th century sculpture, © Région Limousin. Service de l’Inventaire et du Patrimoine Culturel/Philippe Rivière. Ville de Brive-la-Gaillarde – Musée Labenche d’art et d’histoire

 Bianca Balti wearing an outfit from Chanel’s 2010 Spring/Summer Ready-to-Wear collection

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, 1990 Autumn/Winter Haute Couture collection, © Photo Olivier Saillant

(Image credit: TBC, Camilla Åkrans, Olivier Saillant)

Portrait of ‘Culture Chanel’ curator Jean-Louis Froment,

Portrait of ‘Culture Chanel’ curator Jean-Louis Froment, © D.R

(Image credit: TBC)

Photo of a woman walking

From the ‘Paris/Shanghai’ Métiers d’Art show 2009, by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel

(Image credit: Olivier Saillant)

Exterior of a building

The exterior of MOCA, Shanghai

(Image credit: TBC)


Gate No. 7, People's Park
231 Nanjing West Road
Shanghai, 200003