My fourth episode depicts the Maison CHANEL and a quite exceptionnal piece from the latest collection named « Café Society »: the necklace « Morning in Vendôme » made of white gold, sculpted onyx, yellow diamonds and white diamonds and a magnificent 12 carat yellow diamond, showcased at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées last week.
I had an instant crush for this majestic necklace and its graphic shape. The picture taken, as a result, had to respect the CHANEL colours – black and white – with a hint of gold to bring out the diamonds’ hue but also to recall the fabric effects proper to the Art Deco movement that developed until the Modernist period.
Inspired and inspiring, « café society » is the name given to a period of time running from the 1920s to the 1960s, characterized by a renewal in aesthetics and intellect, a search for BEAUTY, a different and innovative artwork viewpoint. It is also a turning point, a change in society and a swing in the way of thinking. Barriers collapse between aristocrats, bourgeois, socialites, artists and intellectuals who socialize at the most fashionable parties. A period of time artistically enriching, with notable collaborations between artists and jewellery maisons. The café society celebrates the fragile splendour of the instant and creates an aristocraty based on talent rather than family name…
Gabrielle Chanel , aka Coco Chanel is at the heart of this creative revolution, this quest for the ideal essence of things. She socializes with the most talented musicians, authors and artists of the time such as Stravinsky – « The Rite of Spring » which made the headlines at the time – whom she sponsored. In order to celebrate this partnership, Chanel chose the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, the place where The Rite of Spring was presented for the first time, to showcase and give full meaning to the high jewellery collection aptly named « Café Society. »
Indeed, Mademoiselle Chanel is at the heart of the undergoing changes, she offers a new representation of women, emancipated and inspired by men’s clothing.
After building up her reputation and making the most of the 1929 stock market crash by buying a load of diamonds, Coco Chanel presents in 1932, in her boutique located at 29, Rue Saint Honoré, a high jewellery collection full set with diamonds, including the sensational « Comet » necklace. The collection is composed of 30 creations which will later on be taken to pieces.
Here is an excerpt of the collection as shown in an archive video, made in november 1932 by Pathé behind the scenes of the exhibition, it was broadcast by Vogue Paris:
Sof all the precious stones, she choses diamonds, symbol in her mind of the « crystallisation » of luxury, and which goes perfectly with her black outfits.
The 1932 exhibition « Diamond Jewels » photographed for Vogue Paris in January 1933 © André Kertész
Following her belief that « Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity. » or in her own words « My jewelry is elegant like a ribbon around the finger », Coco Chanel gives freedom to women, imposes her vision of luxury and of the elegant and chic woman.
However, it will be the sole and unique jewellery collection designed by Coco Chanel, she passed away in 1971. Nowadays, the CHANEL company belongs to Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, grandchildren of Pierre Wertheimer, Coco Chanel’s associate. As for the artistic direction, it has been in the hands of Karl Lagerfeld since 1983.
The CHANEL jewellery line was created in 1993 – located Place Vendôme, at number 7, moving to number 18 in 1997 – and gives life to high jewellery collections inspired by « Mademoiselle Chanel », including:
♦ « Cinq Eléments » in 2001 (staged by Jean-Paul Goude)
♦ « Bijoux de Diamants » in 1932, for the 70th anniversary of the collection, in 2002 (staged by Ingo Maurer)
♦ « Eléments Célestes » in 2005 ( staged by Xavier Veilhan)
♦ « Les Perles de Chanel » in 2006 with a first time exhibition at the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires
♦ « Les Essentiels » and « 18 Place Vendôme » in 2007
♦ « Mademoiselle Stories » in 2008 at the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires
♦ « Lumière » in 2009
♦ « Plumes de Chanel » in 2010 at the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires
♦ « Secrets d’Orients » and « Contrastes » in 2011
♦ « 1932 », celebrating the 80th anniversary of the collection « Bijoux de Diamants » in 2012 at the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires
♦ « Jardin de Camélias » and « Sous le Signe du Lion » in 2013
♦ And « Les Perles de Chanel », « Café Society » and a presence at the Biennale des Antiquaires in September 2014
Charleston cuff « Café society »: white gold, onyx and diamonds, including a 2 carat princess cut center diamond
Here is a sneak peek of the Comete collection which will be available from Septembre 2014, several different pieces with more affordable prices, the collection – in black & white always – puts stars in your eyes!
Nuit de diamants earrings: white gold, diamonds and black spinel beads – 25 000 €
Voie lactée ring: white gold, diamonds and pearls – 12 000 €
Nuit de diamants necklace: white gold, diamonds and black spinel beads – 40 000 €
A warm thank you to Maison CHANEL for its trust, special thanks to Mathilde Boyon and Julia Van Herpen, without whom none of this would have been possible and to photographer Nicolas Mingalon for this great shooting.
More photos of the « Morning in Vendôme » necklace, ring and earrings are on Insta B.
For all enquiry, please contact the store:
18 place Vendôme, 75001 Paris
+33 (0)1 40 98 55 55