Wednesday 24 October 2012


If you adore Chanel, head to the Saatchi Gallery and catch The Little Black Jacket exhibition, which runs until 4th November 2012 (admission free). Featuring over 100 evocative black and white images shot by Chanel's creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, the show celebrates the universal appeal of the leading fashion house's iconic boucle jacket and the launch of the accompanying coffee-table book.

Model Saskia de Brauw wearing Chanel's Little Black Jacket,
shot by Karl Lagerfeld and styled by Carine Roitfeld
Copyright: Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel

The classic Chanel jacket is an integral part of the Parisian fashion house's DNA. It was originated and worn by Coco Chanel first as a revolutionary jersey cardigan jacket in the 1920's and later as a collarless boucle jacket following the fashion house's re-launch in 1953 - when the designer was 70 years old. Traditionally fashioned in fine black wool boucle edged in luxe braiding, the jacket has both evolved and stayed true to its original silhouette since Karl Lagerfeld became creative director almost thirty years ago. The innovative designer has sent the ubiquitous jacket down the runway in a host of contemporary fabrics such as denim, neoprene and hi-shine patent and also in a rainbow of colours, but it is the luxury black boucle version that remains the most coveted. As Coco Chanel said, 'Fashion passes, style remains', which is the reason why Chanel's timeless LBJ graces the wardrobes of so many discerning women (and men, if this portfolio of images is anything to go by!) and always sells well in ready-to-wear, couture and vintage collections.

Lagerfeld has joined forces with uber-stylist Carine Roitfeld to shoot this powerful series of images, starring Chanel's leading ladies and men, including Daphne Guinness, Jane Birkin and Kanye West; all wearing the LBJ in a multitude of traditional and irreverent ways. As well as styling the images, Roitfeld also appears in the guise of Coco Chanel, complete with dressmaking scissors and signature pearls; while Sarah Jessica Parker literally wears her LBJ on her head and Anna Wintour is shot from behind - still immediately recognisable by her glossy signature bob.

Here are a few of my snaps from the exhibition that sadly look nothing like the real thing! You'll have to get to the exhibition before it heads off on its global tour to experience these images for yourself.

From top left to right: Amanda Harlech, Uma Thurman, Charlotte Casiraghi,
Kanye West, Carine Roitfeld, Sandro Kopp, Natalia Vodianova, Sarah Jessica Parker and Daphne Guinness
Copyright: Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel

From top left to right: Charlie Siem, Sofia Coppola, Lauren Hutton, Clemency Poesy, Micheline Chaban-Delmas, Virginie Viard, Rinko Kikuchi, Edie Campbell and Edgar Ramirez
Copyright: Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel

From top left to right: Stella Tennant, Alexa Chung, Claudia Schiffer, Anna Mouglalis, Anna Wintour,
Tilda Swinton, Violette d'Urso, Joan Smalls and Waris Ahluwalia
Copyright: Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel

If you can't get to the exhibition the images are all featured in the beautiful cloth bound book, which is protected by a slipcover and set to become a collector's item - The Little Black Jacket: Chanel's Classic Revisited by Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld, £65, published by Steidl. A gorgeous gift for someone very special... 

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