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First Chanel restrospective opens in Paris after COVID-19 setback

PARIS (Reuters) - The first retrospective in Paris dedicated to the styles created by Coco Chanel, one of France’s most influential designers, is set to open on Thursday after the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year forced organisers to postpone the show.

Showcasing fringed silk dresses from the 1920s and tweed suits which the Chanel brand is still known for today, some of the fragile textile displays at the Palais Galliera museum had to be packed away when the launch was postponed in March.

The fashion-focused museum, which is reopening its doors on Oct. 1 after two years of renovations, is now pressing ahead although the number of tourists visiting Paris remains muted.

Fashion exhibits have become increasingly popular in recent years, with LVMH LVMH’s Christian Dior for instance taking a recent retrospective from Paris to London and Shanghai.

The Chanel exhibit aims to shine a light on how Gabrielle Chanel, better known as Coco, revolutionised styles at the turn of the last century, with clothes that women would feel comfortable wearing.

“We found that her work, bearing in mind she was above all a designer who dedicated her whole life to Haute Couture, was less well known than her life,” said Miren Arzalluz, director of the Palais Galliera and one of the exhibit curators.

Chanel died in 1971, at the Ritz hotel in Paris where she lived. Her life has been documented in many biographies, including some which claim she collaborated with the Nazis during World War II as a spy, although the brand has poured doubt on the allegations.

Chanel is still one of the biggest luxury brands in the world by sales, and its trademark styles evoke those of its founder, including her classic little black dresses.

Some of the outfits beaded gowns, feathered capes and silk pyjamas on display were loaned by Chanel and private owners, Arzalluz said.

Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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