If you haven’t already caught the Twitter frenzy, set up your Chanel at Harrods search now. Shrouded in secrecy until today, the Chanel pop up bonanza, which opened this morning got we Twitter-fanatical fashion and beauty hacks into a complete Twitter tizz. Why, you ask sweetly? Oh, why?
Today, for three weeks, Chanel has collaborated with Harrods on a temporary collection of Chanel paraphernalia: pop-up boutique, beauty bar, exhibition, Chanel make-up artists and manicurists (ready to paint your face and nails) and more, to let we mere mortals into the glittering world of Chanel. The inspiration was Chanel designer, Karl Lagerfeld’s Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear collection, which at the time of the show, was considered – albeit to acclaim – somewhat gritty in its post-apocalyptic setting, and dour, slouchy, masculine, gothic, street-meets-high-fashion feel. But has translated into a fabulous, deliriously-wantable, luxe collection with hints of 70s and early 80s glamour (see more pix here) – and if Harrods’ Brompton Road windows were anything to go by, doused with surely whimsical, other-worldly, fairytale touches.
And this other worldliness was what rang through the spectacle. As I moved from the pop-up boutique at door 9 into the beauty area (a kindly assistant will direct you) it was Hansel & Gretel for grown-ups. Sweet jars of lip glosses, lipsticks and nail polishes lined the walls. Decanters of over sized Chance and other scent bottles sat alongside. In front, there was a bronze tiled beauty bar where you could have a make over by one of Chanel’s make-up artists – Kay Montano, Lisa Eldridge, and today, Mary Greenwell… You could also have your nails painted by a star manicurist – today it was Britain’s talon superstar Sophy Robson – and tomorrow, it will be Marian Newman, who is another big name in fashionista nails. I nipped into the Chanel-customised photo booth – you can too, and be snapped all made-up like a star, wind machine at the ready. It was brilliant, you look really not bad at all. Passport photo booth this isn’t – this is Snap Shot, Coco style.
I took a lift to the third floor and wandered through to something every budding fashion-fanatical teenager needs to see: Une Promenade – Coco In Wonderland – an exhibition showcasing the various elements or ‘codes’, which define Chanel. I wafted through a curtain of rippling pearls into an Italian-style garden setting complete with black, quilted watering cans, treasure filled cabinets and encircled with arches leading through to a number of ante-chambers. I took one, which lead me into a blacked out room to watch how the classic, black quilt Chanel bag is made, through a patchwork of videoclips (Sam Taylor Wood – are you watching?). Next I drifted into the playroom, where teddies and rag dolls modelled Lagerfeld designed outfits. On and through into a pastiche of the Chanel couture atelier (see the photo above for an idea) draped with gowns, and with couture dresses displayed through glass frames on the walls (loved the wallpaper – grey and white and elegant: peacocks, birds and flowers).
A No5 room had a giant No5 bottle as its centrepiece, with footage of past No5 faces including Marilyn Monroe and Ali McGraw beamed into the glass. A book lined study was a snapshot into Lagerfeld’s own, the walls decorated with photo-fit wallpaper of the bookshelves that line his own study. Then: a Chanel tweed and boucle wool lined room, which turned these two, iconic Chanel fabrics into art pieces – tweed stretched as a canvas. And lastly, a giant sized Chanel bag (comical in its size and cartoon-like vibe, like an iced cake) filled the final stop, just to remind us of the supremely iconic status of the world of Chanel.
Chanel’s World at Harrods runs for three weeks from today – Une Promenade opens tomorrow, September 6th 2011.