The quilted leather handbag and tweed suit are not the only iconic silhouettes the House of Chanel has created over the course of its long legacy. Gabrielle Chanel celebrated the freedom of women and her creations reflected her beliefs.
It was 1932. In her private townhouse at 29 Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Mademoiselle Chanel launched her first and only high jewellery collection “Bijoux de Diamants” featuring radical, elaborate designs that were transformable – allowing for freedom of self-expression, even when it comes to jewels. The designs revolutionised diamond jewellery of the time, and the elements that inspired them have since become enduring codes of the House.
The iconic collection forms the inspiration behind Chanel’s latest fine jewellery creations. Symbolic elements such as the comet, the sun, the feather and the ribbon are incorporated into the collection, while a new element – the lion, representing the star sign of Gabrielle Chanel – is introduced.
The majestic King of the Jungle epitomises the essence of the House, and Coco Chanel’s bold, indomitable spirit. This new addition also represents Venice, the city of the lion, where Mademoiselle Chanel found inspiration and courage during difficult times. The emblem is seen on the Sous le Signe du Lion – an 18-carat yellow gold brooch complete with diamonds.
Embodying beauty, movement and freedom, the comet, a signature motif of Chanel’s Fine Jewellery, has been the inspiration behind many designs. As Gabrielle Chanel said when she presented the 1932 collection, “I wanted to cover women in constellations”, like adorning the meteor shower from across the Parisian sky. The latest Comète necklace, crafted in 18k white gold and diamonds, sports a removable pendant that can be transformed into a brooch.
The transformable quality of the 1932 designs is also manifested in the Soleil de Chanel necklace and ring. Crafted in 18k yellow gold, 18k white gold and encrusted with diamonds, the ring is made up of two parts that can be worn together or separately, while the sun pendant on the necklace can be removed and worn as a brooch.
“If you’re born without wings, don’t do anything to stop them growing”, Mademoiselle Chanel once said. The light and supple nature of the feather, which she loved to pin to her straw hat, represented the freedom of expression in movement. It reiterates the confidence of a woman who isn’t afraid to grow into her own. The Chanel feather is reinterpreted – in 18k yellow gold, 18k white gold and diamonds – into the flexible Plume de Chanel ring that spans across the length of the finger worn.
A signature element of Chanel style, the ribbon is a nod to couture, in its different states and forms – tied or untied, coiled or laced, still or in motion. The graceful style of the ribbon is seen in the Ruban ring and bracelet crafted in elegant 18k beige gold with diamonds.
If I have chosen diamonds, it is because they represent the greatest value in the smallest volume. And my love of things that glitter has inspired me to try to combine elegance and fashion through the medium of jewellery.
Gabrielle Chanel, 1932
Images courtesy of Chanel, artwork by Curatedition.