Dress like a Greek goddess with Chanel adornery
mashing things up, combining real with faux, and wearing precious pieces with costume jewellery. A provocative pleasure, it served as both a source of inspiration and an attitude located somewhere between simplicity and sophistication. The first pieces appeared in the 1920s. With the collaboration of various jewellers and costume jewellery makers, the designer's creations were nourished by an eclectic profusion of inspirations and artisanal and traditional know-how. Jewellery became the complement to a silhouette, a signature accessory that to this day remains essential to the Chanel allure.
Like the lady herself, Chanel's models wore costume jewellery with opulence, layering necklaces and sautoirs and multiplying brooches and bracelets. Her exacting insistence on pure lines and sobriety was enhanced by a profusion of stones, faux pearls and precious metals such as vermeil, plated metal and bronze. Chanel made jewellery integral to a look: a cuff bracelet might replace a shirt cuff, a jewelled belt would accentuate the waist, or a cleverly placed brooch could alter the fall of a dress.
Baroque or Byzantine, cascades of pearls and art deco lines – Chanel called upon costume jewellery maker Gripoix in the 1920s, and goldsmith François Hugo in the 1930s. Then, from 1954, she began collaborating with goldsmith Robert Goossens, and developed a series of favourite symbols that became part of her infamous codes: crosses, lions, the stars, sun, comets, feathers. Despite Chanel's death in 1971 and Goosens' in 2016, their collaboration legacy continues, having joined the Métiers d'Art group in 2005.
For his 2017/18 cruise collection, Karl Lagerfeld appropriated symbols from Greek mythology and Hellenic civilisation and mashed them up with Chanel motifs. Goddess togas, shepherd tunics are punctuated with costume jewellery; much of the collection is rendered in orange and terracotta hues of ancient Greece along with a vibrant colour palatte consisting of royal blues, turquoise, green and pink. Bracelets are worn high on the arm, headbands made of chains and leather flowers become head jewellery. Between its spartan allure and deity-like elegance, Chanel costume jewellery offers an idea of femininity that embodies strength and beauty throughout the ages.
From top: Golden metal and orange leather arm bracelet with faux pearls; golden metal necklace with black resin pearls