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Chanel heads up V&A’s exhibition schedule for 2023

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: V&A; Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto
The V&A Museum has unveiled its 2023 programme across its sites in London and Dundee, featuring exhibitions focused on Chanel, Tartan, divas and plastic.

At V&A South Kensington, the highlight of the schedule is the UK’s first exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. The exhibit will chart the designer’s evolution of her iconic design style and the establishment of the House of Chanel, from her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to the showing of her final collection in 1971.

‘Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto’ will run from September 16, 2023, to February 25, 2024, and will showcase more than 180 looks seen together for the first time, as well as jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and perfumes. The exhibition will also explore Chanel’s pioneering approach to fashion design, which paved the way for a new feminine elegance and continues to influence how women dress.

Based on the Chanel exhibit organised by the Palais Galliera, Fashion Museum of the City of Paris, the V&A states that the exhibition will be reimagined for the London museum. It will feature “rarely seen pieces” from the V&A’s collection, alongside looks from Palais Galliera and the Patrimoine de Chanel, the heritage collections of the fashion House in Paris.

V&A Museum unveiled 2023 exhibition programme featuring Chanel, Tartan and musical divas

Image: V&A 'Diva'; Whitney Houston performing at Wembley Arena, London by David Corio

2023 will also see the V&A hosting an exhibition celebrating the power and creativity of the diva, from Opera goddesses of the Victorian era to today’s global megastars. The ‘Diva’ exhibition will run from June 24, 2023, to April 7, 2024, and will explore and redefine what it means to be a diva and how this has been subverted or embraced over time across opera, stage, popular music, and film.

The exhibition will feature fashion, photography, design, costumes, music and live performance drawn from the V&A collection and loans from across the world and will look at how the performer has intersected with society and driven change through their voice and art.

V&A Dundee celebrates 5th birthday in 2023

Image: V&A - Tartan; Cheddar Gorgeous in suit designed by Liquorice Black

V&A Dundee will celebrate its fifth birthday in 2023 with two major new exhibitions, including ‘Tartan,’ a radical new look at one of the world’s best-known fabrics and ‘Plastic: Remaking Our World,’ taking a fresh look at the promise and challenges of this extraordinary material.

‘Tartan,’ will run from April 1, 2023, to January 14, 2024, and will celebrate the global story of the unique pattern, which the V&A states expresses “tradition, revolt and diversity,” and inspires playful and provocative design, and connects communities worldwide.

This marks the first major exhibition curated by V&A Dundee, with consultant curator Jonathan Faiers of the University of Southampton. It will showcase how Tartan is a textile that is adored and continues to inspire, while also examining its complex, rich, and sometimes painful history unequalled by any other cloth or pattern.

The other exhibition is ‘Plastic: Remaking Our World,’ opening on October 29, 2022, until February 5, 2023, which will present the story of plastic “from invention to global ubiquity,” featuring product design, graphics, architecture and fashion from the collections of the V&A and Vitra Design Museum, as well as collections all over the world.

Image: V&A; Plastic: Remaking Our World

V&A director, Tristram Hunt, said in a statement: “We are delighted to announce such a broad programme of activity across the V&A’s growing family of sites, celebrating creativity in all its forms, from captivating sculpture by Renaissance master Donatello to the pioneering designs of couturier Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, and the global phenomenon – the diva.

“2023 also sees the opening next summer of Young V&A, and V&A Dundee will be celebrating a landmark 5 years as Scotland’s design museum with a look at how Tartan became a world renowned fabric. The next year will also bring us closer to the opening of our new sites on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and we will be sharing activity and events happening throughout 2023 as we realise the ambitious V&A East projects. There is truly a celebration of global creativity across the V&A in 2023.

V&A Dundee
V&A Museum