Chanel-ing Your Inner Fashionista: A Look Inside Two Major Fashion Houses in London

Rachael Dowd is a student at Seattle University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in London, England.

As one of the major fashion capitals of the world, all scattered throughout London are an endless number of art and fashion installations. As a fashion enthusiast myself, I spent this month attending two of the most popular fashion exhibitions going on in the city. With free admission, the exhibitions allow the public to see a different side of the fashion industry that extends far beyond models walking the catwalk.

LV Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 6

Louis Vuitton Series 3 Exhibition

Runtime: 21/09 – 18/10

Located in central London, this exhibition gave the public the chance to see and understand the vision and work that went into the French fashion house’s Autumn-Winter 2015 collection. Spanning over three floors and thirteen rooms, the exhibition encompassed the past, present and future of Louis Vuitton right in front of the public’s eyes.

LV Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 1
Every guest of the exhibition is required to travel down a long tunnel that leads into the fascinating world of Louis Vuitton and the mind of the fashion house’s creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière.
LV Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 2
Many of the rooms in the exhibition have large screens that display famous patterns and textiles the fashion house has debuted over the years.
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One room of the thirteen room exhibition is dedicated to the AW15 collection where visitors are able to watch the runway show from start to finish and get a close look at all of the collection’s detailing. The room is set up exactly how the runway during fashion week appeared.
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The evolution of Louis Vuitton’s bags and trunks appear in another part of the exhibition where viewers are able to observe how the fashion house evolved from trunks to everyday bags.
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The last room of the exhibition has pieces from the AW15 collection and signature Louis Vuitton pieces on display for viewers to enjoy the history of the fashion house, as well as the modern styling of the contemporary collections.

Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 1

Mademoiselle Prive

Runtime: 13/10 – 1/11

Installed on three floors in the Saatchi Gallery, this exhibition highlights many aspects of Chanel including haute couture, Chanel No.5 and the recent re-editions of the 1932 jewel collection “Bijoux de Diamants”. Looking through history, Mademoiselle Prive balances the original inspirations and designs from Coco Chanel herself and the vision and innovations Karl Lagerfeld has brought to the fashion house since 1983.

Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 2

Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 3

Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 4
The first room of the exhibition takes you into the world of Coco Chanel, where a narrator talks about the inspirations and style icons that influenced the designer from a very young age. Big screens cast classic black and white Chanel illustrations across the entire room, while photographs and direct quotes from the designer hang from the walls.

Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 5

Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 6
A birdcage hangs in the middle of the room that shows a piece inspired from the original “Bijoux de Diamants” collection created in 1932, a theme that is apparent throughout the entire exhibition.

Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 7

Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 8
Chanel No.5 is one of the highlights of the entire exhibition. Very large pots are scattered throughout the room that represent certain ingredients and perfume notes that create the signature No.5 aroma.
Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 9
A garden installation resembling a traditional French garden and maze is shown at the halfway part of the exhibition. Guests are welcome to sit and enjoy the real plants that fill the entire room.
Chanel Exhibition, London, UK, Dowd 10
Chanel muses are found scattered along the walls of the “Bijoux de Diamants” room. Familiar faces including Lily Collins, Keira Knightley, Lily Rose Depp and Rita Ora are among a few of the celebrities to have featured photographs in the exhibition.
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New and contemporary pieces are highlighted and presented in the center of the room for visitors to observe. Taking in traditional Chanel patterns, the use of sheer fabric and materials gives the fashion house a more contemporary image.

If you are looking to indulge in a little high art and fashion without breaking the bank, London is the place to be. Fashion exhibitions like Louis Vuitton Series 3 and Mademoiselle Prive are always running around the city and are the perfect budget friendly activities for all fashion lovers out there!

Looking for more about London? Check out “Park Perks:  Seeing Green in the City”