There are few things in life which make you gasp out loud and feel like a child again, but Chanel’s amazing ‘Une Promenade’ is certainly one of those things. I was invited down by Harrods to take a tour of the fabulous new exhibition which runs in parallel with their takeover of the world-renown department store. The adventure begins by walking through a giant curtain of pearls, the much loved accessory of Gabrielle (or Coco) Chanel, and into a garden that’s adorned with beautiful displays and an amazing fountain. In the words of the guide “like Alice stepping through the looking glass, visitors sense a change in scale, as though they have entered a magical kingdom where everything appears in a different light.” That’s exactly how you feel.
As you walk around to the first room, you experience an encounter with a futuristic workshop where they’re making the iconic 2.55 bags before your eyes. The room is coated with the same quilted leather and a wall of videos show you exactly how much care and attention goes into making these iconic bags. The room smells and feels like you’re actually in one of the bags, even down to the padded seats, and the sounds of the workshop have you mesmerised.
Next you step into my highlight of the adventure – a children’s bedroom which makes you feel miniature and as excitable as when you were given your first Barbie doll. The detail in this room is incredible… everything from the wallpaper and curtains, the the intricate replications of Chanel’s designs for dolls, the beautifully intricate doll’s house and giant chairs… the room is mesmerising. I spent so long in here I didn’t want to leave; truly a highlight from the whole experience.
Once you leave the world of children, you most certainly progress into the beauty of adulthood. A replica of Gabrielle Chanel’s French apartment, the next point of interest is the beautiful couture room. The most amazingly intricate and incredible dresses await you, which wouldn’t be out of place in a Disney Princess wardrobe. Vintage fashions adorn the wall, giant boxes let you peek into bright and bold dresses and the models make you want to weep, they’re so fantastical.
By stepping through to the next location, Karl Lagerfeld’s Studio 7L, you’re brought back down to earth with a bang. Books adorn the walls and Karl himself is lit up like an angel, looking down on the visitors into his famous library. If that wasn’t enough, you then get to feel like a character from The Borrowers by experiencing the biggest Chanel handbag that ever existed… a photo opportunity if ever there was one. The final room is dedicated to the iconic fragrance, Chanel No5, with giant bottles dotted around a projection of the advertising campaign – the perfect way to finish off a perfect experience.
The entirety of this spectacular world of Chanel gives you goosebumps. I’ve never seen something so truly amazing, fantastic and surprising all at once. It’s the detail that’s amazing and how much thought has gone into everything from the floor, to smells, to the journey overall. I would thoroughly recommend you take time to experience this for yourself while it’s at Harrods this month. I’m really hoping that this isn’t the last we see of ‘Une Promenade’ – fingers crossed they find a permanent home for the amazing world they’ve created.
Une Promenade is free to enter and open until 24th September within Harrods.
See all my pictures in full size from the exhibit here.