17 September – 8 January

‘They had a mission to invent the 20th Century, airplanes, electricity…’

(Coco Chanel exhibition Venice 2016)

This comment alone gives an idea of just how exciting the times were in which Chanel was working and her own pioneering nature that completely changed the world of fashion. 

Coco Chanel was a legend in her time and her legacy is as resilient as her. It is no wonder therefore that we are curious about what built this strength and individuality of mind. This exhibition is one of a seven part series created by Jean-lous Froment as part of the Cultural Chanel foundation in 2007. Emphasizing the importance of the relationships within her life and in particular her life long relationship with literature and with those who occupied themselves with words.

As you ascend the grand stairs of the Palazzo to the final floor, where the exhibition can be found, you are immediately aware of a change in atmosphere. This undoubtedly in part due to the screens fitted over the window that filter the natural light. In any case, a silence descends almost as if entering into a church. This is no accident as it is explained that religion played a large role in her style and her library was treated as sacred. (see for yourself how light can impact the mood of a room in such a profound way)

Anyway, you will realise straight away that this is an exceptional exhibition just from the sheer volume of information that it is available. At the time in which Chanel was starting her career and throughout she surrounded herself, or perhaps it is more accurate to say, she was a magnet for creative and original thinkers. The sign of her success can be seen as she transitioned from muse to patron of trailblazing works. Whatever her role she was never far from the source, whether it be Opera, painting, literature or fashion. You will find names you recognize and those you don’t but it is impossible to ignore the magnitude of this period.

For more information: Ca’Pesaro Venice

 

 

Personal tips:

  • Firstly, I would recommend coming with plenty of time and even possibly alone. (However, ofcourse this is not mandatory).
  • Secondly, I would definitely recommend following the order of the rooms, despite not being done strictly chronologically, there is a sense of introduction to her personality. Gradually building to the fifth room where there is a climax, in that you meet Boy, her most intimate and possibly profound muse. Described in a beautiful way as her ‘double’. Then her Library, which is an accumulation of all that has passed in the previous rooms.
  • Finally, if like me you are there as the doors open at 10 am (apart from Mondays when the museum is closed) it is impossible to ignore the smell of freshly baked patisseries, which gently makes its way up the three flights of stairs. Whilst not strictly speaking being fitting the elegant theme of the exhibition it is enough to stir an appetite. To cure this particular problem, there is small café located on the ground floor, which has spectacular view over the Grand Canal, although the food is nothing to write home about.

If you are looking for something a bit more substantial and of great quality, we would recommend:

La Zucca– a small trattoria just round the corner. www.lazucca.it

Bacarreto– a new and one of the few Sicilian restaurants in Venice. Located just round the corner, there is no website but you can call in advance. (041 200 7667)

Da Fiore, a brilliant restaurant which is well known for its authentic Venetian dishes- www.dafiore.net

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