CHAPTER 4 The LOVERS

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4.1 - THE PIECES

The Folklore earrings are an interpretation of colourful, traditional Russian embroideries. They are reimagined in daring red lacquer, Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite colour, and punctuated with tsavorite and orange garnets, blue and pink sapphires, diamonds and pearls.

4.2 - THE STORY

It is easy to let the legend of Coco Chanel overshadow the woman, Gabrielle. This is precisely what Coco wanted, as she preferred to hide behind her work and use the tragedies of the past as material for the remarkable yet ever-changing tale of her life. Gabrielle Chanel was, after all, a master creator. But, behind this legend, there exists a woman,
who loved deeply and lived passionately.

the Folklore earrings

In this video, the model is wearing the Folklore earrings

A model wearing the Folklore earrings

The story is such that Gabrielle Chanel met the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich in Biarritz, France after he had been exiled from Russia. Although penniless, he possessed movie-star good looks and a captivating Russian lure that Chanel found intoxicating.

In her own recounting of this event, Gabrielle Chanel said to Dmitri, “I have 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 another Russian, composer Igor Stravinsky, who was already madly in love with Gabrielle!

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

Igor Stravinsky was also married. To add yet another layer of intrigue, Stravinsky was living with his family and ailing wife at Bel Respiro, Gabrielle Chanel’s countryside retreat. Chanel offered her home to the Stravinsky family as a reprieve from the hardships they faced, and in support of Igor’s musical endeavours. As a token of deep thanks, 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 odour
Impatiently waiting for an exquisite perfume
To add itself
To the sweet memory of a kiss
From the fiery coloured 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 mesmerising selection of coloured tourmalines was selected 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, an octagonal-shape, 15.25-carat DFL diamond was sourced and cut to represent the iconic Place Vendôme.