Images from “The Little Black Jacket” exhibition.
Photos by Karl Lagerfeld, courtesy of CHANEL.


Call me a tragic design nerd if you will (it won’t be the fist time I hear it), but few things in this world get me excited as beautiful, enduring, classic design pieces do, whatever they may be. CHANEL’s Little Black Jacket most definitely falls in that category. CHANEL alone owns that category, but that’s a whole other post.

Created during the fifties by Mademoiselle Coco Chanel, The Jacket has become one of the most recognisable and well known fashion icons today – in fact, The Jacket has transcended fashion and become a universal icon of indisputable historical value. Just like a classic piece of furniture, or an iconic example of architecture, the staying power of The Jacket has elevated it to a legendary status.


Images from “The Little Black Jacket” exhibition.
Photos by Karl Lagerfeld, courtesy of CHANEL.


As a tribute to this timeless fashion icon, Karl Lagerfeld has launched a picture-based book titled “The Little Black Jacket: CHANEL’s classic revisited by Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld”. With the help of former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, the designer has captured CHANEL’s little black jacket being adapted and worn differently by some of today’s greatest personalities in contemporary culture – over a hundred models and celebrities have been photographed ranging from actors, artists, singers, rock stars, even architects! Lagerfeld’s portraits blur the lines between generations, nationalities and styles.


Images from “The Little Black Jacket” exhibition.
Photos by Karl Lagerfeld, courtesy of CHANEL.


To capture the true extent of the versatility of The Jacket, the book also features a number of male models. In fact, when she first created the piece back in the 1950s, Coco Chanel drew her inspiration from a jacket worn by the male staff at an Austrian hotel. It is absolutely incredible that a man’s jacket has crossed the boundary of gender to become a symbol of feminine elegance. Truly fascinating, no?


“The Little Black Jacket” exhibition opening in Tokyo (top) and New York (bottom).
Images courtesy of CHANEL.


After its debut in Tokyo, followed by New York, Taipei, Hong Kong, London and Moscow, the photographic exhibition which is based on The Book arrived to Sydney last night. Running simultaneously with the exhibition, the window display of CHANEL’s Castlereagh Street (which has just been reopened after a complete renovation) and Bondi Junction boutiques, will present a selection of jackets from the latest collections, while in-store the iconic jacket will take centre stage.


Behind the scenes of “The Little Black Jacket” book.
Images courtesy of CHANEL.


Check out the gallery below for many more extraordinary images from the exhibition, behind the scenes from the making of the book, shots from exhibition openings in Tokyo and New York, Karl Lagerfeld’s sketches of The Jacket, photos showing the making of The Jacket taken at CHANEL’s atelier etc, etc. I also encourage you to have a look at the Making of “The Little Black Jacket” video and Making of The Jacket in CHANEL’s ateliers. Major inspiration overload!!


Karl Lagerfeld’s sketch of the The Little Black Jacket.
Image courtesy of CHANEL.

Photos taken at CHANEL atelier at Rue Cambon, Paris showing the process of making The Jacket. Initially conceived by the designer, Karl Lagerfeld, the idea materialises in the form of a sketch which he gives to the Head of the atelier, who scrupulously interprets the design. The fit, detailing and cut of the garment sketched by Lagerfeld are copied precisely.
Images courtesy of CHANEL. 


I will leave you with this thought from the gorgeous Sarah Jessica Parker, who was asked to share her personal story with the CHANEL jacket during her shoot for the book.

So can you tell us what is your own personal story with this jacket? 

I would say this is the kind of piece, in your life, you earn. I would almost hope that nobody comes by ownership casually, that this is one of those kind of things some might call art, some might covet this and think it’s something that you really relish and think about and one day maybe you’re fortunate enough to own it. I now own one and I happened to wear it today to this shoot and amongst some other things in my life, I consider it a prize possession. I feel very lucky.

Amen to that!

The Little Black Jacket / CHANEL’s classic revisited by Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld.
Photographic Exhibition in Sydney.

Pier 2/3, 13 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, Sydney NSW 2000
Open to the public from October 27th to November 11th 2012
Opening hours: Daily from 11am to 7pm // Free Admission.



[Images courtesy of CHANEL.]

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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