Colour is an ART: Chanel Exhibition 2016

Before I moved to Dubai, I used to purchase a lot of CHANEL nail polishes  and for that I do own a quite large collection of them. Since relocating here, I completley stopped buying them; the reason being I started go to a professional salon for my manicures.

I can easily admit that I do have a love-hate relationship with Chanel’s nail polishes. The quality has never been anywhere close to a salon brand (which is quite natural for some of the beauty department brands) and the brush is not my favourite. So why on earth did I continue to buy them then?

Simple: No one but Chanel is so on point when it comes to shades and innovative finishes! With every collection it daunts on me how the colours get more and more beautiful and they often have this 3D effect to them, which catch the light and makes your nail go from blue-brown and green all in one second.

For 2016 I’m very pleased to know that the formula for the nail polishes has been updated! A whole new set of shades (and an exciting Gel Top Coat) is now in store and it is being launched in the most creative way: with an Art Exhibition! 

Everyone who knows their Chanel history well, know that Gabrielle spent a lot of her life surrounded by art and artists in all forms: Picasso, Stravinskij and other well known name were friends of hers and she designed the costumes when her friend decided to set up a ballet show. There’s no coincidence that one of the most beloved nail polishes of Chanel is called Ballerina. 

In Harvey Nichols Dubai, The Colour is an ART Exhibition has been open for everyone to look at for the last two weeks. As the exhibition and campaign now come to an end I thought it would be fun for you to take part of (some) of it, even if it means looking at my not-so-perfect pictures. (Pictures of pictures is really not my thing!).

The collection is based on the five basic shades of Chanel: beige, white, black, red and gold and the creative department at Chanel in Paris have made an effort to, while using the new range of polishes available in the Le Vernis de Chanel Collection pay a tribute to some of our most known artists work and schools. Enjoy!

A Tribute to Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). Taken inspiration from the artist’s work Grey Square Chanel has created a piece to mimic the Russian’s abstract style. Expressionism was a modernist movement at the beginning at the 20th century and the artist aspired to present the world from a subjective perspective.

Even though I should point out that none of these paintings made by Chanel are copies of the original, they strive to active the same feeling and form. Shades and colours differ but it is still a wonderful way to combine art and beauty.

For this piece 8 of the new Les Vernis has been chosen:

  • No 167 Ballerina, pale pink
  • No 506 Camélia, oxblood red
  • No 518 Chaîn Or, golden yellow
  • No 516 Mariniér, dark blue-green
  • No 510 Gitane, bright coral
  • No 08 Pirate, red
  • No 18 Rouge Noir, black-red
  • No 683 Sunset Trip, dark navy

A Tribute to Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944). A Dutch painter, he was a part of the De Stijl movement founded in Amsterdam in 1917. To simplify the object, one painted on a white background, using vertical and horizontal lines and kept to a maximum of three colours, also known as neoplasticism.

Used by Chanel to capture Mondrian’s style is:

  • No 518 Chaîn Or
  • No 516 Mariniére
  • No 510 Gitane
  • No 08 Pirate

A Tribute to Victor Vasarely ( 1906 – 1997). Op Art, or Optical Art is a style of visual art that uses optical illusions, maybe mostly in black and white, to hide hidden messages, patterns and art that to the eye seem to move, swell or vibrate. This is one of my favourites from the Exhibition!

Being known as the Grandfather of Op Art, Vasarely’s work Zebra, created in the 30’s has inspired the team of Chanel. Used in this picture, Les Vernis:

  • No 638 Sunset Trip
  • No 18 Rouge Noir
  • No 08 Pirate
  • No 510 Gitane

A Tribute to “Sol” LeWitt (1928 – 2007). This American artist is known for Conceptual art and Minimalism. Although I’m not very well familiar with this kind of art, my personal opinion is that the Chanel team’s interpretation of it feels more beautiful and modern than the famous original! Maybe it is the pink Ballerina added to the painting which speaks to me. Les Vernis used for this piece are:

  • No 516 Mariniére
  • No 518 Chaîn Or
  • No 167 Ballerina
  • No 08 Pirate

A Tribute to Réne Magritte (1898 – 1967). It feels almost impossible that anyone can have missed the classic painting with a brown pipe on, and the text “C’eci n’est pas une pipe”?! The Belgian Surrealist had a witty sense of humour and wanted people to see more than what first met the eye. Familiar objects in an unusual context was his thing and with photographic precision, this movement from the 1920’s feels very fresh and hip today. Very Gatsby!

The Chanel team has made a wonderful job by letting their crown jewel, classic red Les Vernis be the sole star of the painting and paired with the phrase: “C’eci n’est pas un vernis”. 


  • No 08 Pirate

A Tribute to Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956). I think this must be my very favourite from the Exhibition! I’ve always loved Pollock and even wrote a paper on him in school. Yes, he is well known and was an influential American artist during the Abstract expressionist movement. Maybe not all that difficult to understand or all that “original and niche” but with his drip painting I found it very fun to try and find my own objects within the painting! It’s like looking at clouds and trying to imagine what they resemble. It sparks the imagination and makes my brain get a good set of exercise!

Used to create this piece is Le Vernis:

  • No 506 Camélia
  • No 516 Mariniére
  • No 683 Sunrise Trip

A Tribute to Alexander Calder (1898 – 1976). This is the last piece from the collection that I wish to show you. There are more but the article is getting long! Composition IV is one of Calder’s most famous work. Not a painter but a sculptor Calder is known for Kinetic Art: today we would most probably call it # dimensional sculptures which, to the eye, looks the same from every angle. Whit shadows and form the object stands out from the background and is given a 3D form.

Once again, I personally feel that the Chanel team has done a great job in the spirit of Calder. That being said without me being an expert at art! I just know that I enjoy the result and the fact that Alexander Calder was chosen to begin with as one of the artists to pay respect. This piece was created with Les Vernis:

  • No 510 Gitane
  • No 516 Mariniére
  • No 506 Camèlia
  • No 518 Chaîn Or
  • No 167 Ballerina

During the whole campaign, the exhibition have ended in some stations where customer of Harvery Nichols Dubai have had the chance of getting their nails done and get familiar with all of Chanel’s products. I feel that it’s quite obvious that the brand have an extensive budget to back their new launches up, but still I would have died to be the Marketing brain behind this brilliant campaign! I’ve always said here on TLF that to me, art and beauty needs each other in order to reach full potential and today, with all young girls and boys doing YT videos, I feel that a lot of brand history and art history get lost in the Zoella-world. Chanel have made a great effort here into getting people educated and aware of some history in a fun and exclusive way where everyone is included and it’s free of charge. I think that it’s remarkable and makes me fall in love all over again with this wonderful brand!

Tomorrow Saturday 30th of April is the last day to witness the Exhibition and get a complimentary makeover (upon availability in the schedule). If you are in Dubai, pop by the Chanel counter and say hello to Ivan and he will very knowingly guide you through the different installations. ♥

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