Fashion director Sharon Tulasidas explains the art of “faking it”.
Coco Chanel was renowned for being an advocate of minimalism but when it came to jewellery, the late fashion designer championed an alternate styling approach:
Piling on multi-strand pearls with sautoir necklaces, or fancy brooches with ornate bracelets, and chunky earrings, too.
Mademoiselle Chanel also had a peculiar preference for her unique and freestyle mash-up.
She chose to accessorise mostly with a costume variety, as opposed to fine jewellery.
In fact, many of her hallmark creations were fashioned from faux pearls, glass stones and semi-precious metals such as vermeil (gilded silver or bronze).
“Costume jewellery isn’t made to provoke desire, just astonishment at most. It must remain an ornament and an amusement,”
mused Chanel on her take on accessorising with costume jewellery.
She created classic jackets with cropped sleeves so one could flaunt bold cuffs and dressy bracelets.
She trimmed waistlines with intricate jeweled belts to accentuate tiny and feminine midsections.
When Mademoiselle Chanel introduced costume jewellery into her dressmaking business in the 1920s, she approached Augustine Gripoix, a Parisian glass-worker who then reproduced the foundress’ beloved Byzantine designs.
She also collaborated with goldsmith Francois Hugo, to offer women semi-precious yet opulent options, fit for everyday use.
In 1954, Chanel worked with Robert Goosens, a goldsmith whose maison today has been acquired by Chanel’s subsidiary business – Paraffection.
More commonly known as Métiers d’Art, the organisation was initiated by Chanel in a bid to showcase, preserve and perpetuate the heritage and craft of skilled fashion ateliers.
The Lagerfeld Legacy
Paying homage to the Coco Chanel’s penchant for chic over-accessorising, the Kaiser stamped the foundress’ interlocking initials on every item imaginable.
From costume jewellery, to hardware used on the ready-to-wear collections, shoes and handbag categories, the CC logo surfaced as a fanciful charm of sorts, as trimming pendants, metal clasps and even buttons, which doubled as jewelled embellishments.
The House of Chanel worked with the metalworkers Desrues to produce many of these sparkly creations. As the main supplier of the brand’s costume jewellery since 1965, the atelier is also part of the revered Chanel Métiers d’Art.
Fit for A Goddess
Every season, Lagerfeld introduces an elaborate storyboard that infuses a sense of newness for the brand’s costume jewellery stable.
The spotlight for Cruise 2017-18 is on Greece, and offers many bejewelled creations imbued with symbols of antiquity from the Hellenistic period, such as the bee (an emblem representing soul, death and rebirth) and Athena’s Owl (a figure to denote the virgin goddess’ wisdom).
Artfully constructed, these mythology-inspired pieces look as modern today as they did during the time of the ancient Greeks.
Styles to covet include the feminine bejeweled headbands, worn like delicate tiaras on girlish center-parted tresses; in addition to a multitude of coiling bracelets that perfectly adorn svelte upper arms.
There are even plastron-inspired masterpieces for the brave stylista looking to channel her inner gladiatrix.
These ostentatious armour-esque bodices come festooned with a beautiful display of glass stone embroidery and lends a nod to Mademoiselle’s love for marrying fashion with the flashy exuberance of costume jewellery.
Watch backstage video to see Chanel Cruise 2018 accessories upclose here.
All images courtesy of Chanel.