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Chanel's Spacious Place

"It's a building, but also an object at the same time," said Karl Lagerfeld as he toured Chanel Mobile Art on Wednesday night. "It's like a sculpture you...

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While the disparate artworks and the building itself might seem to have only their modernity in common, they were all inspired by elements of Chanel's iconic handbag. In the case of the stark white building itself, thousands of squares on the surface pay homage to the company's hallmark quilted leather. Inside, the artists have been inspired by everything from the bag's leather-and-chain shoulder strap to the jealousy that arises when only one woman in a group has a bag.

"It's very flattering — it shows people are interested in what we did — I think it's a compliment," said Lagerfeld of the artistic interpretations.

Surrounded by socialites and fans on the lower level of the parking lot, which had been turned into an industrial-chic lounge for the evening, Lagerfeld deflected praise for the project.

"I am not the curator, I just had the idea, the concept, and all I thought of was the name," he said, adding that he doubted whether he would see the exhibit as it moved to other cities. "We have so many collections, one after the other, I'm not sure if I'll see it in other places. But it's so nice to be here for the first one."

photos by Stephane Feugere and Gareth Jones
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