Some of the most stylish and beautiful women in the world gathered at the Saatchi Gallery on the Kings Road last night for the London launch of the Little Black Jacket exhibition and accompanying book, which celebrate the lasting legacy of Coco Chanel’s most iconic fashion piece. Many of the guests were hand-picked and photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for the project, and styled wearing the eponymous jacket by superstylist Carine Roitfeld.
Naturally, Grazia Daily is keen to ask Karl’s gang two vital questions: do you own a Chanel jacket, and how would you style it up to wear it tonight?
Lou Doillon in a cream silk blouse and gold metallic tweed pencil skirt says her Chanel jacket is ‘blue, long and deliberately ripped at the elbows’. It seems Monsieur Lagerfeld sent the jacket as a gift to a couple of actresses who complained it was damaged. Eventually the designer realised Doillon, with her sexy dishevelled Parisian style would appreciate the deconstructed detailing. ‘Of course, I loved it! Karl said “you’re the only one who gets it!”’ For Doillon, the allure of the LBJ is simple ‘it’s so beautiful and it gives you extreme chic!’
Kristen McMenamy, resplendent in a grey beehive and black bunny ears, is wearing a silver-grey Chanel jacket cinched into her tiny waist over a black crinoline style skirt. Kristen and Karl are so close that he walked her up the aisle at her wedding fifteen years ago. ‘Karl has sent me loads of jackets over the years, I’m very lucky! I have maybe four or five now,’ although she admits ‘it’s the black ones I wear the most’. Kristen has jackets from back in the 80s ‘of course they have the shoulder pads so you’d think they wouldn’t work now, but the cut is just so fantastic they still look cool, even today.’
Shoe Queen and girl crush Tabitha Simmons confesses ‘I have TWO jackets! One is white with a red and blue trim and one is red and white striped. They go with everything, you can dress then up with a flippy skirt or just wear with jeans.’ Perfect shoe for that? ‘A flat point’ says the footwear designer with some authority.
Stella Tennant, sometime face of Chanel’s campaigns has a wardrobe full of the house’s jackets ‘in all different lengths’. According to the model ‘they’re just so versatile, you can add a little brooch or just wear with jeans. And it’s great if you’re going out and you just need a little jacket because it’s cold’.
Arizona Muse admits she doesn’t own a Chanel LBJ – yet ‘it’s on my wishlist. It’s just so classic – what was there before the Little Black Jacket?’. Did you get to wear one in the book? ‘I’m not in the book!’ wails Muse. ‘I’m too new!’ Grazia refrains from pointing out that 4 year old Scarlett Utzmann Huynh did make the cut.
Meanwhile a LBJ smackdown of sorts is playing out in the main hall where three giant stacks of poster-sized prints from the book are offered to the guests. The three portraits available: Georgia Jagger (black bra, Chanel handcuffs), Lily Donaldson (kilt, shredded T, faux-hawk) and actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey (union jack T, tartan trousers, clockwork orange eye make up) . So whose portrait would prove to be most popular? It was a close call, but by the end of the night, the arguably lesser-known and not-at-all British Berges Frisbey seemed to have won by a whisker. Must have been the union jack T-shirt that did it.
The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited is showing October 12th - October 28th, 2012, at the Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, SW34RY. For more information, visit thelittleblackjacket.chanel.