17 October 2022
Sixty years of Brilliance
with Philippa Stockley
Born in 1883, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel became the most influential couturier of the 20th century, despite a poor beginning and having been abandoned in an orphanage aged 12. Clothing historian and author Philippa Stockley charts Chanel’s astonishing life and career, from iconoclastic designer in the 1920s to head of Maison Chanel in Rue Cambon, Paris. At the height of her fame she employed 4,000 workers. She survived competition from rivals Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, repeatedly adapting to circumstance and opportunity with chameleon-like ability. Chanel used men to climb socially and to back her, but brains to constantly evolve her designs until her death in 1971. In a lecture springing from the Palais Galliera’s 2020-2021 Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto exhibition (which goes to the V&A, London, in late 2023), Philippa Stockley explores the designs and life of this dazzling couturier.
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