1 . 5
1 camélia . 5 allures
Cristal Illusion is just that. At first, it appears as a necklace, to be worn both short and long, but can be transformed into two distinct pieces: a necklace and diamond-encrusted camellia brooch.
“I want the jewellery to be like a ribbon on a woman’s fingers. My ribbons are flexible and detachable. For grand evenings, you wear the full set. For smaller parties, you can remove the main part and large pieces. In this way, the set of jewellery is no longer an immutable object. Life transforms it and bends it to its needs.”Gabrielle ChanelExtract from "Jewellery by CHANEL" by Patrick Mauriès, Thames and Hudson, 2012, p.110
Gabrielle Chanel was fascinated by numerology. Superstition in numbers often guided her decisions and held great significance in her life — most importantly, her lucky number five. In the 1.5 – 1 CAMÉLIA, 5 ALLURES High Jewellery collection, numbers take on new significance, paying homage to the singular camellia, the emblematic flower of CHANEL, and the five variations in which it is crafted.
Adding another layer of luck, nearly half of the collection is transformable, with pieces that can be worn five different ways.
In 1932, when Gabrielle Chanel created Bijoux de Diamants, her first and only High Jewellery collection, individual pieces were crafted to be worn in multiple ways, bestowing the wearer with versatility and choice. These High Jewellery pieces were displayed on life-like mannequins, a then disruptive departure from the velvet and glass cases used at the time, preferring the shape of a woman’s body to emulate the movement in their lives.
As Mademoiselle used her craft as a medium of expression, the aspect of transformability underscores her deepest, most steadfast belief: Women should have freedom.
Freedom and transformability became the guiding principles of 1.5 — 1 CAMÉLIA, 5 ALLURES. The camellia motif punctuates the collection in unique, surprising ways, with each piece in service to the woman who wears it, adapting to the needs of a life being lived.
The creative process - The sketches
The camellia silhouette is the inspiration of every design in this collection, forever consistent in its construction and form.
At the centre of the camellia on the Rouge Incandescent necklace is a 7.61-carat Mozambique ruby, which detaches to reveal a second, red camellia, illuminating hues of rouge, encrusted with baguette-cut rubies.
The fate of the camellia would have been remarkably different if it were not for the ingenuity of Gabrielle Chanel.
Never bound by convention, nor the confines of masculine & feminine style, Mademoiselle plucked the camellia from the buttonholes of men’s blazers, fastening the bloom to her belt, her blouse, her hair. Mademoiselle transformed the camellia to fit her every fantasy: embroidered, printed, engraved, pleated, woven, frayed.
The camellia has also been created in diamonds, moonstones, pearls, and for this collection, it blooms in rubies. The incandescent red of these fiery stones radiates the colour of passion, desire, love, and also that of fearlessness. It is unsurprising why Mademoiselle loved this colour.
The creative process - Gouache paintings
The sketch then evolves to a gouache painting in a process that reveals the duality of red and white camellias.
Contraste Blanc embodies the concept of paradox which Mademoiselle so loved. The strong lines of a five-carat, emerald-cut diamond are juxtaposed with the delicate petals of a diamond-encrusted camellia.
“It irritates me when I hear people say that I’ve been lucky. No one has worked harder than me.”Gabrielle ChanelExtract from "The Allure of Chanel" by Paul Morand, Pushkin Press, 2013, p.19
Gabrielle Chanel was known to have a relentless, incessant work ethic; an ethos of the House that remains to this day.
The creation of High Jewellery embodies this spirit. Each collection requires two years to complete, and each stage is done entirely by hand.
This technique, which we refer to as savoir-faire, extends to all details: showing the idea with pencil and paper, carefully carving the wax mould, inspecting and setting the gemstones.
This multifaceted process requires extraordinary talents and a myriad of skills, all of which must work in perfect harmony. Without the craft, the idea cannot materialise; the tangible object does not exist without the idea. The marriage of exceptional design with the most magnificent gemstones creates jewellery pieces with extraordinary beauty.
The creative process - Tray of gemstones
Gemologists hand select each stone specifically for the needs of the design, a collaboration that is integral to bringing a collection to fruition.
Rouge Tentation is a set of two camellias, a fiery red ring of rubies and a pavé diamond brooch, both with a detachable halo of pavé diamond petals.
“By wanting to lighten myself, I lightened fashion. In my youth, women didn’t have a human shape. Their dresses were contrary to nature. I gave them back their freedom.”Gabrielle ChanelExtract from "Mémoires de Coco" by Louise de Vilmorin, Le Promeneur, 1999, p.35
Gabrielle Chanel wanted women to be free — free from what the world thought they should be, free from the fashions that bound them. This pursuit of liberation was the life’s work of Mademoiselle.
In a traditionally conservative system, Mademoiselle created a new manner of dressing, liberating women’s bodies whilst simultaneously freeing their minds.
This audacious and courageous spirit is embodied in the transformable pieces of the 1.5 — 1 CAMÉLIA, 5 ALLURES collection. These creations give the wearer versatility and choice, with the freedom to choose her own destiny — the ethos of CHANEL, personified.
The creative process - Red camellia
Each ruby is carefully selected, and moulds are inspected for compatibility with the detachable petals.
Revelation Diamant, with an ethereal, lace-like pattern, is punctuated with a detachable diamond camellia that the wearer can fasten as a brooch.
The number five brought Gabrielle Chanel great luck. Twice yearly, on the fifth day of the month, her fashion shows were revealed. Now, for the first time ever, the emblematic camellia is handcrafted in five, High Jewellery variations.
This collection offers further versatility with a variety of transformable pieces, bestowing the wearer with the freedom to choose — the ultimate luxury.
The creative process - Savoir-faire
The two-dimensional camellia sketch evolves into a three-dimensional design, where it will soon be embedded with gemstones and luminescent rose quartz carvings.