Chapter 4 The LOVERS

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4.1 - THE PIECES

The lacquered Folklore earrings are an interpretation of colorful, traditional Russian embroideries. They are reimagined in daring red, Mademoiselle's favorite color, and punctuated with tsavorite and orange garnets, blue and pink sapphires, diamonds and pearls.

4.2 - THE STORY

The legend of Mademoiselle Chanel can easily overshadow the woman, Gabrielle. This is precisely what Coco wanted, preferring to hide behind her work and use the tragedies of her past to spin the remarkable yet ever-changing tale of her life. After all, Mademoiselle was a master creator. But, behind the legend, there exists a woman who loved deeply and lived passionately.

The folklore earrigns

In this video, the model is wearing the folklore earrings

The model wearing the folflore earrings

As the story goes, Gabrielle Chanel met the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich in Biarritz, France after he was exiled from Russia. Though penniless, he possessed movie-star looks and a captivating Russian lure that Chanel found intoxicating.

According to her own recounting of this event, Mademoiselle said to Dmitri, "I've just bought a little blue Rolls, let's go to Monte Carlo."*

*Paul MORAND, L'Allure de Chanel, 1976, © Hermann p.154

Off they went, much to the chagrin of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, who was already madly in love with Gabrielle.

Coco Chanel and the Grand Duke Dimitri
Gabrielle Chanel and the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich in Biarritz, France, 1924, Collection Chanel © DR

Igor Stravinsky was also married. To add yet another layer of intrigue, he was living with his family and ailing wife at Bel Respiro, Mademoiselle's countryside retreat. Chanel offered her home to the Stravinsky family as a reprieve from the hardships they faced, and to support Igor's musical endeavors. As a token of appreciation, Stravinsky gave her an icon from Russia, his most prized and valuable possession.

Igor
Igor Stravinsky's letter to Gabrielle Chanel
A letter that was written to Gabrielle Chanel from Igor Stravinsky, June 1933, © Fondation Paul Sacher, Bâle, Collection Igor Stravinsky.

Translation from the Patrimoine:

Rouge de Chanel on Igor’s brow
Losing its sweet odor
Impatiently waiting for an exquisite perfume
To add itself
To the sweet memory of a kiss
From the fiery colored lips
Of Chanel also called Coco

Here, dear Coco, are makeshift verses
That call out for you in French
A gift of perfume
For the saint’s day on the 18th of June
Of your loyal Igor
Who believes to have done no wrong
Charming you with these verses if not strong
At least awaking a desire
To make him truly happy

Affectionately yours
Igor

Gabrielle Chanel and Igor Stravinsky with the couple, José­Maria and Misia Sert
Gabrielle Chanel and Igor Stravinsky with the couple, José­-Maria and Misia Sert, 1920,
© Fondation Paul Sacher, Bâle, (Fonds Igor Stravinsky).

4.3 - SAVOIR FAIRE

4.3 - SAVOIR FAIRE

The Studio de Creation and the stone experts must work in complete and total harmony. For the Blé Maria brooch, a mesmerizing selection of colored tourmalines was chosen to represent the Russian embroidery-inspired design. Mounted at the heart of the piece is a 28.81-carat, oval-cut yellow sapphire. For the Aigle Cambon necklace, a 15.25-carat DFL diamond was sourced and cut into an octagon to represent the iconic shape of the Place Vendôme.