Yoko Ono showing off her moves in a Chanel jacket (above)
When most women think of Chanel, the brand’s iconic 2.55 quilted handbag immediately comes to mind. Although this lustworthy style is undoubtedly one of the house’s most sought-after icons, it was the little black jacket that actually put Coco Chanel on the fashion map all those years ago. To me, a Chanel black jacket is a piece of fashion history that every woman should own.
The opening night of the exhibition (above)
So you can imagine my excitement when the brand decided launch their book and accompanying photo exhibition called, The Little Black Jacket: A Classic Revisited, in Hong Kong last week. The brainchild of Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld, the project doesn’t trace the history of the jacket or how it’s made – although this in itself is fascinating (originally based on a men’s jacket, a Chanel jacket is completely handmade and features luxe details such as a weighted chain around the bottom hem so it sits perfectly on the body).
Celebrities wearing Chanel’s iconic black jacket (above)
But I digress. Instead the The Little Black Jacket tells the story of how this simple piece of clothing has evolved into a permanent part of the fashion lexicon. To illustrate this are a series of black and white portraits featuring 113 men and women, many of them style icons and celebrities, wearing a Chanel jacket styled in their own unique way. The results range from fun to serious as the jacket is transformed into a nun’s habit, strapless gown or shown off from behind, in the case of Anna Wintour. The images are all styled by none other than ex-French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld and famous faces inside include Sarah Jessica Parker, Tilda Swinton, Daphne Guinness, Chinese actress Tang Wei , Alexander Wang and Jane Birkin (who wears her jacket with a Birkin bag, natch). The best part about the project is that it portrays the jacket as something modern and relatable even though it was created all those years ago. It’s a cool testament to the house’s heritage and one of its most enduring fashion creations.
In the words of the Kaiser: “This little black jacket was a man’s jacket; Coco Chanel has the genius to translate that into a piece of clothing for woman, timelessly modern. Today the Chanel jacket is on the same level than the white shirt, the t-shirt, jeans and tank top.”
Jane Birkin (left) and Anna Wintour (right)
It shouldn’t be missed, whether you are a lover of fashion, photography, art or beautiful things.
The Little Black Jacket is on view until July 16th 2012 at The Space, 210 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong. For those of you who can’t make the exhibition, visit thelittleblackjacket.chanel.com, to discover more about the project.