CHANEL Mobile Art Pavilion in Central Park, NY

This month, the iconic CHANEL Mobile Art Pavilion designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid landed in New York to mark the 50th anniversary of the company’s iconic 2.55 quilted bag. Previously installed in Tokyo and Hong Kong, the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion in Central Park, New York is opened to public from October 19th to November 9th, 2008. Tickets could be obtained through an online reservation free-ticketing system, here. (which mostly are sold out!)

Fortunately I’ve scored four free tickets online and went to experience this extraordinary exhibition with my family and friends last Sunday. We made sure we arrived on time, since we were told that if we’re late, they would give away our tickets to those waiting in line. Quite a challenge for us, Indonesians who are widely known for our tardiness! ;P On the other hand, we obtained the tickets free of charge and I absolutely understand if they would expect us to respect their time in return. A very nice lesson and a reminder to value your time! Pelajaran buat yang suka ngaret!

CHANEL Mobile Art Pavilion, Central Park, New York, *click on photo for larger view

I saw a bunch of Asian girls toting their beloved CHANEL bags, Chanel ballet flats, or wearing any accessories marked with Chanel logos. No surprise here, knowing how Asian women are quite OBSESSED with this label! The guards themselves were wearing Chanel wind breakers. And when we asked whether they got to keep them at the end of the exhibition, unfortunately they wouldn’t be able to. The pavilion itself looked like a snail-shaped spacecraft coming from outer space and planted in the middle of Central Park. Inside the exhibition, we were required to check in our coats and belongings, so this time we weren’t lucky enough to sneak some photos. But, we managed to take a couple of exterior shots of the pavilion and grab some interior photos from several online sites to share with you.

We were equipped with audio-tour MP3 headset program, featuring a 35-minute semi-narrative commentary by husky-voiced French actress and vocalist Jeanne Moreau, whose voice was compared to be similar to Mademoiselle Coco Chanel. Wearing headphones on our heads, we were guided by Moreau’s sultry voice and visually appealing music soundtrack, to enjoy this whole mobile art. She would tell us where to go, left or right, climb the stairs, sit on the floors, close our eyes, take a deep breath, so on and so forth until the end of the journey.

Please do not expect to see Chanel couture and handbag full collection in this exhibition. The mobile art mainly exhibited 18 Chanel-inspired art installations by international artists including Sylvie Fleury, David Levinthal, Yang Fudong, Lee Bul, Leandro Erlich, Michael Lin, and many more. One especially hilarious installation by Russian art collective Blue Noses – featured stacks of plain cardboard boxes within each of which are projected films of naked women of all sizes chasing after, bodyboarding on, and beating each other, over their heads with Chanel handbags. It was a shocking yet provocative video, watching these naked bodies “fighting” with Chanel handbags.

photo courtesy of nypost.com

A king-size-bed of Chanel 2.55 quilted handbag was the highlight of the exhibition. Inside this giant handbag, a video installation by Sylvie Fleury played on the mirror of a large Chanel powder compact, showing a woman in a shooting range targeting Chanel quilted handbags. It was kind-of painful to see those bags destroyed by bullets.

photo courtesy of nypost.com

One of my favorite installation was this “storyboard” picture, describing the steps in the making of CHANEL handbags. From how they cut each lambskin leather panels of the bags, the gussets, the quilting machine, the iconic CC metal stamp to be embossed onto the leather, the fillers, to the trademark Chanel chains. They’re mostly handcrafted and less using machinery. It was definitely magical, an unforgettable experience as I’ve always been curious on how they crafted their handbags. At the end of the exhibition, the Yoko Ono wish tree was one that you couldn’t miss. You would be asked to write down a wish and then hang it on this giant bonsai-looking tree.

the storyboard photo of the making of Chanel handbags, next to the Yoko Ono’s wish tree, courtesy of nypost.com

It was by far the most pleasant art installation I have ever been to. Even to those who never like visiting museums and exhibitions, they were pretty much entertained after going to this mobile art. It was definitely well-planned, organized and worth visiting. It’s interactive as you were guided step -by-step to experience the exhibition as a whole complete package. I felt like Alice in the Wonderland, jumped into several different places with its own different experience.

I grew more respect to the craftsmanship of Chanel handbags and was reminded of how I first started to be passionate about fashion: it’s not for the sake of being able to afford or collecting designer labels, remembering by heart every models, designers, and magazine editors, being fashionable nor wearing anything hip or trendy. It’s simply to learn and be inspired by the endless passion of those who put a lot of efforts in designing their signature piece. And, I can’t wait to return again this weekend, because I still have some free tickets =)

A CHANEL-inspired trailer playground : the swing chairs are inspired from Chanel classic quilting and Chanel trademark chains, as well as the Bear, lounges, etc., courtesy of NYpost.com

After New York, the CHANEL Mobile Art pavilion will be traveling to London, Moscow, and Paris, click here to learn more.

Watch the video and take the tour inside the Chanel Mobile Art from NYMag.com, here. And, see more photos from the NYpost.com, here.

Sources & images courtesy of: ZA, nypost.com, nymag.com, chanel.com, chanel-mobileart.com

*click on thumbnails below*