Chanel Pops Up Near the High Line

July 15, 2015

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When asked what she wore to bed, Marilyn Monroe replied, “Five drops of Chanel No. 5”.

In early May I received an email from Vogue magazine saying that it was sponsoring a Chanel No. 5 Pop-Up Exhibit. I did a double take. This elegant brand is doing a “Pop-Up”? Isn’t this a little down-market for a famous company?

The designed postcard that Chanel mailed      

Well, the French rewrote the book for this one. The exhibit was located at 461 West 14th, in a light-filled space just a hop-and-skip away from the Hudson River. Upon arriving at the site one was met outside by a phalanx of young men elegantly dressed in black and looking at if they’d been sent from MGM’s Central Casting.

Upon entering, the first exhibit was two “pools” with Jasmine petals in one and May Rose in the other (both are in Chanel No. 5). We were instructed to put our hands through narrow shafts of light above the pools and, lo and behold, the petals moved to reveal descriptive words underneath.

Inside the exhibit it was pitch dark, so attendees were escorted from one spot to the next. I really didn’t understand the technology involved but, I must say, the result was magical.

Small samples of Chanel No. 5 were given out here at the “No. 5 in a New Light” exhibit.

The show, called No. 5 in a New Light, was no more than 15-20 minutes or so, but it had a “wow” finish that was very popular. A long table was set up with postcards imprinted with a “blank” Chanel bottle. Many small “C” stamps and inkpads allowed one to make a personal design on the card. After writing an address on the flip side, one popped it into a white mailbox whereupon Chanel would mail the card to whomever you wished – for FREE.

Designing Chanel personal postcards

A record-breaking attendance and the popularity of the Chanel brand itself attested to one simple fact: Chanel No. 5 was created 94 years ago and it’s still going strong.

A WHITNEY POSTMORTEM

After last week’s blistering critiques in the press (see July 8th blog) of the newly opened Whitney Museum, here is a review I’m totally in sync with (Financial Times, May 9-10, 2015).

Simon Schama, a contributing editor, wrote a thought-provoking piece titled, Why the New Whitney is About Art – Not the Artworld. See pertinent excerpts below:

“There’s art, and then there’s Artworld, which is buzz, style, money, blockbuster openings and fashionistas eyeing each other…with billionaires from the Far East, Near East and Slavic East all trying to outscore their rivals.”

He adds, “Does Renzo Piano’s new Whitney, with its airy openings to the river make it too easy for critics to complain? Yes, this is exactly what has happened.” Current reviews such as “those outdoor terraces are just a mini High Line” reflect this thinking.

A view of the Hudson River. Shot taken from the Whitney Museum terrace

Schama counters with, “So why am I walking around the Whitney with an expression of bliss on my face?” Because, he says, “I saw, literally in a new light, work I’d never much rated before. My exhilaration is, in part, due to the tripling of space and the light that, on the Fifth Floor, pours down from filtered skylights. Perhaps it’s not bad to have a place in Manhattan where the art can jump for joy because it finds itself at home.”

Bravo! You’ve hit it out of the park.

MAY WE SUGGEST…

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Shaun Nelson-Henrick

 



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