The feminist reason a stubborn Coco Chanel reignited her fashion career aged 70

Fashion Manifesto doesn’t brush the “controversy” in Chanel’s personal life under the carpet – the very first paragraph you read on entering the space flags that tricky stuff lies ahead. From her high profile lovers and storied personal life, the allegations of spying and work with both German intelligence and French resistance, everything gets unpicked.

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Is it possible to separate the work from the creator? Some sources paint Coco as a monster… But there is no need to take sides. The V&A show shares the facts on all elements of her extraordinary life and recognises the times that she lived through, socially, had a major affect on her personal legacy, as well as spotlighting her incredible design heritage.

There are still queues outside the Chanel boutique on Sloane Street at least two hours before the store opens every single morning. For a person born in 1883, that’s epic. Pretty much everything in your wardrobe will have the lasting influence of Coco in it, somewhere, from the buttons, fabric, silhouette or concept. Visiting Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto is the most brilliant way to understand how one woman’s stubborn decision to fight back against misogyny still influences how you get dressed every day.

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto exhibition is at the V&A museum, London, from 16th September 2023 until 25th February 2024.

Read more from Glamour UK Fashion Director at large Alex Fullerton here or follow her on Instagram @alexandrafullerton

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