Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto

Image of Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto
Release Date: 
November 17, 2020
Thames & Hudson
Reviewed by: 

If you are a compulsive and devoted fashionphile, there is always some little morsel of information or quote that can be found in a fashion book no matter how many books you have read about a particular designer or brand.

Miren Arzalluz, the author of this book, writes, “Chanel developed her own recognizable and timeless style that endured in the face of the ever-changing collections, trends, and fleeting fancies of fashion.”  

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto serves the dual purpose of offering an all-consuming and inclusive panorama of Mademoiselle’s career as well as being a catalog that accompanies the retrospective of her professional career that took place at the Palais Galleria at the Musée de la Mode de la Ville in Paris.

In 1930, Colette wrote, “Chanel works with her ten fingers, with her nails, with the side of her hand, with her palms, with pins, with scissors, right on the garment, which is a white cloud with long pleats, speckled with crystal drops.”  

The best feature of tomes of this ilk within the genre is that they are thoroughly researched and documented. The book is invaluable as it truly focuses on Chanel’s work and not her upbringing, or her social or sexual proclivities.

Miren Arzalluz writes, “Gabrielle Chanel devoted her long life to creating, perfecting and promoting a new kind of elegance based on freedom of movement, a natural and casual pose, a subtle elegance that shuns all extravagances, a timeless style for a new kind of woman. That was her fashion manifesto. A legacy that has never gone out of style.”

While some readers might say well Karl Lagerfeld defied her manifesto, the more astute will say he embellished on that manifesto and kept the brand’s DNA and designer’s legacy close at hand with every collection he created under the label.

The images offer a very up close and personal opportunity to see all that was part of the designer’s manifesto as well as what made that manifesto and her vision an unrivaled success in the world of fashion. Some might consider it a bit too like a textbook, and others might just say that this is a fine iteration of Chanel’s oeuvre, akin to a dissection of the designer, her vision, and her state of mind.