The Chanel Fashion Manifesto: How to Get Tickets to This Sold Out Exhibit

“The first UK exhibition dedicated to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, charting the establishment of the House of CHANEL and the evolution of her iconic design style which continues to influence the way women dress today.”

I recently traveled to London over Thanksgiving with my family and it was a whirlwind trip – each day was packed from beginning to end with touristy but fun activities for my boys, husband and in-laws. I absolutely love visiting London and this trip was no exception. We left no stone unturned – museums, palaces, cathedrals, the theatre, fancy restaurants, pubs – our party of eight made the very most of our time in this spectacular city.

One afternoon when everyone else went back to the hotel to rest before dinner, I was able to sneak off for a couple of hours to visit the Chanel Fashion Manifesto exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The show is a “a reimagining of an exhibition originally staged at the Palais Galliera in Paris in 2020”. It is a chronologically presented collection of both Chanel’s designs and life starting from the very beginning of her career around 1916. The collection ends with a breathtaking presentation of Chanel suits in one room and gowns in another.

Tickets are very difficult to come by for this exhibit – it has been completely sold out, but luckily there is a work around: if you purchase a museum membership, you can visit the exhibit anytime; no reservation or tickets needed.

A membership costs 77 pounds (about $100 US dollars) and is a great value: not only does it get you access to the Chanel exhibit but you also receive discounts at the shops and cafeteria and a special seating area as well.

It was a lovely experience – so well curated (sleek black, simple design) and interesting. I had a delicious solo lunch afterwards in the cafeteria in my members only dining area before heading back to the hotel and my party of eight!

Get your membership card now – the show was supposed to end in February but it has been so popular that they just announced an extension through Sunday, March 10. Also don’t miss the gift shops at the end of the exhibit – there’s a great coffee table book and other fun things to buy.

P.S. The one trend I noticed in London was that every fashionable woman was wearing a long camel coat and sneakers, aka trainers. I’ve included a few for you here that caught my eye. Coincidentally, as I was searching online for this post, I found the best options at the British brand REISS.

Get your long camel coat HERE.

Get your Chanel basics HERE.

Chanel tweed suit, circa 1960
My V&A Membership Card. I was so happy to have it – I watched many people be turned away from the exhibit.

Victoria and Albert Museum Membership Benefits:

  • Free entry to all exhibitions – unlimited visits and no need to book
  • See it first at a Members’ Preview – enjoy new exhibitions with exclusive Members-only previews and talks, including the inside story from our exhibition curators
  • Members’ Room – enjoy exclusive access to award-winning space at the heart of V&A
  • Events – enjoy priority booking for our rich talks programme with the world’s creative luminaries and access to specially curated Members-only events, including Members’ Welcome Tours
  • Family access – free access to exhibitions for up to four children
  • Indulge yourself – enjoy special discounts courtesy of the V&A shops
My poster from the exhibit being framed back home in Birmingham. (I went with the black frame btw.)
I do not own a lot of Chanel but I got this little bag for Christmas and love it. Get yours here.
By the way, if you can’t get to London, this is a cute film to watch on Amazon Prime called Coco Before Chanel starring Audrey Tatou.

Featuring over 200 looks brought together for the first time, this exhibition explores Gabrielle Chanel’s iconic design style – from her first millinery boutique in Paris, to her final collection in 1971.

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto
Entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London

The V&A is a family of museums dedicated to the power of creativity. Our mission is to champion design and creativity in all its forms, advance cultural knowledge, and inspire makers, creators and innovators everywhere. We share a 5,000 year old story of creativity through exhibitions, events, educational programmes, digital experiences, conservation, research and an ever-evolving national collection of over 2.8 million objects spanning every creative discipline.

The glass sculpture in the front entryway is incredible.
Entrance to the exhibit

“The exhibition is split into 10 themed sections, exploring Chanel’s innovative approach to fabric, silhouette and construction. There are plenty of well-known pieces on display, from the famous little black dress, the 2.55 handbag and the much-loved tweed suit, to two-tone slingback heels and Chanel’s iconic debut perfume, N°5, it’s a highly researched deep-dive into the life and career of one of the world’s most famous designers.”

Note the aforementioned long camel coat.
Even with the membership card access, there was a line – but I only had to wait about 15 min.
“The exhibition begins with one of the earliest surviving Chanel garments — a simple cream blouse from 1916 made from silk jersey, a humble fabric previously used for underwear and stockings.”
The exhibit was very crowded but they handled it nicely – I was able to see everything up close and I didn’t feel rushed either.
This was at the end of the exhibit and it was a huge WOW factor to walk in this room and see so many Chanel suits on display.
Don’t forget the iconic Chanel pumps.
Or the jewelry
The little black dress made so famous by Chanel – this was one of my favorite in the entire collection. I could see it on Audrey Hebpurn or Audrey Tatou.
Again, it was crowded but since they limit the tickets it was manageable. I did not feel claustrophobic or annoyed by the amount of people.
& afterwards I had lunch in the charming cafeteria.
I went with this brie and apple sandwich which sounds weird but it was amazing. They have so many great things to choose from like salads and quiche, pastries, there was a coffee bar, etc.
This is the ceiling in the cafeteria – it doesn’t feel right to call it a cafeteria. It is actually a beautiful restaurant – the only thing that it has in common with a traditional cafeteria is the trays but they are chic as well.
Membership Perks – your own sitting room.
Scones, brownies, muffins and other desserts and sweets.
I was so bummed that I did not have time to stop by this DIVA exhibit – I heard so many great reviews. You have until April 10 to visit this one.
This is the back of the museum.
There’s also a little patisserie in the back of the museum – it might be temporary for the Chanel exhibit only but I couldn’t tell.
Not camel but very pretty and you’ll never guess where it’s from.
Wool Wrap Coat (now 50% off)

And here are a few images from the most recent Chanel collection at the Paris Fashion Show just this week! It is incredible to see that over 100 years after the label was founded, the same themes still stand out in the Chanel collections: black and white, ladylike, tailored suits, and femininity. I absolutely love the look of the white tights/black sandals but can’t imagine ever wearing them myself.

Maybe on my next trip to PARIS.

Gabrielle Coco Chanel

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