Popular Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman Exhibition Extended to February 26!

The Mint Museum Randolph is announcing that its Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman exhibition has been extended another two months.

Due to its popularity and widespread public acclaim, The Mint Museum Randolph is announcing that its Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman exhibition has been extended another two months, keeping it on view to museum patrons until February 26, 2012.

The exhibition presents the iconic haute couture designs of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and includes works on public view for the first time. Sponsored by U.S Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, the exhibition opened May 21.

“The overwhelmingly positive public response to this exhibition has been gratifying,” said Charles L. Mo, Director of Fine Arts. “We are pleased to be able to give visitors more time to appreciate this landmark collection from a legendary designer.”

Among the major designers who shaped the landscape of women’s fashion in the 20th century, Coco Chanel (1883-1971) remains a pivotal figure. She pioneered a new look for women in the early 1900s, creating clothes that were primarily comfortable, yet lasting in both their construction and style. Replacing the restrictive corset with casual elegance, her fashion repertoire included simple suits and dresses, women’s trousers, costume jewelry, and perfume.

Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman includes works dating from the 1920s to the present, augmented by a selection of accessories, sketches, and other fashion-related materials. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Mint’s Historic Costume & Fashionable Dress collection.

Highlights include a sampling of early designs, from a suit that was produced circa 1925-1929 and is noted to be an ensemble constructed by Coco Chanel herself, to the seminal “little black dress,” which the designer popularized among women everywhere. Accessories such as handbags, eyeglasses, shoes, and perfume demonstrate the myriad of designs produced by the label within its first century of existence.

Born in France, Chanel endured a rocky childhood and first learned to sew in an orphanage during her teens. It was during a brief stint as a singer in cafés and concert halls that she adopted the name Coco. With the help of a wealthy male companion, Chanel launched her first business venture – a millinery shop – in Paris in 1910, followed by boutiques in Deauville and Biarritz. During the 1920s, she became the first designer to use knit jersey (an inexpensive material traditionally used for men’s underwear) to construct women’s clothing, creating relaxed, menswear-inspired garments that rejected the stiff, corseted look of the time. Her innovative, uncluttered designs led her to become one of the premier fashion designers in Paris.

In 1925, Chanel introduced her now legendary suit, featuring a collarless jacket and fitted skirt. She matched its success the following year with her little black dress, both of which continue to be staples in every Chanel collection. In 1926, American Vogue compared Chanel’s little black dress to the Ford automobile. The designer helped pioneer the floating evening scarf, as well as the practice of wearing faux and real jewels together. She used colorful, feminine, printed chiffons in her daywear designs, while evening ensembles incorporated tulle, lace, and decorative elements that softened the overall look of the garment.

Coco Chanel worked until her death in 1971 at the age of 88. Her fashions and accessories – including her iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume – earned her a place on Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman is made possible with generous support from U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Media sponsor: Our State Magazine.