Sail Away

Chanel sparks a ro­mance on the high seas with its lat­est high jew­ellery col­lec­tion.

Fashion (Canada) - - Fashion - By Noreen Flana­gan

When some­one who rou­tinely has rar­efied ex­pe­ri­ences is jazzed about an evening you’ve both just shared, you know it was spe­cial. It’s the day af­ter the launch of Chanel’s lat­est high jew­ellery col­lec­tion, Fly­ing Cloud, and Frédéric Grangié, the pres­i­dent of watches and fine jew­ellery, is both elated and re­lieved. “The din­ner that we had here last night at La Pausa may never hap­pen again,” says Grangié as we en­joy a cool drink on the grounds of Coco Chanel’s re­cently re­stored home in Ro­que­brune-Cap-Martin, an area in the French Riviera near Monaco. “Last night was a once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence for 108 peo­ple.”

It’s not that peo­ple will never tour Chanel’s home again, but Grangié notes that it’s highly un­likely they’ll ever dine al­fresco un­der a cus­tom-built canopy in­spired by the sails of the Fly­ing Cloud, which was the yacht owned by Chanel’s lover, the sec­ond Duke of West­min­ster, and the in­spi­ra­tion for the col­lec­tion. The evening was in­deed un­for­get­tably ex­quis­ite. It be­gan with a sea­side drive through Monaco to reach La Pausa, the hillside villa that Chanel built in 1929. At the gates to the sin­gle-lane drive­way, we were met by two se­ri­ous-look­ing men wear­ing ear­pieces. They checked our cre­den­tials and our trunk be­fore we were granted en­trance. When we walked into the foyer of this monas­tic and min­i­mal home, I was im­me­di­ately drawn to the stone stair­case, which was in­spired by the Aubazine abbey where Chanel spent much of her child­hood. A sil­hou­ette of Chanel was pro­jected onto the wall, echo­ing the fa­mous por­traits of her on the steps.

Af­ter the req­ui­site selfie mo­ment, I made my way into the ad­ja­cent rooms, where the col­lec­tion was on dis­play. Each room was dec­o­rated with sails and ringed with se­cu­rity men in stylish black suits. I kept think­ing that it was the per­fect scene for a Euro­pean movie about a jew­ellery heist star­ring Ja­son Statham.

The next day, Grangié tells me that the big­gest challenge was ar­rang­ing se­cu­rity for the mul­ti­mil­lion-euro col­lec­tion. “When we first started talk­ing about this one year ago, most peo­ple said it was go­ing to be im­pos­si­ble and the insurance com­pany was re­ally up­set with this idea—and when I say re­ally up­set, I mean re­ally up­set,” he says with a laugh.

But Grangié isn’t one to be de­nied. It was kismet that the col­lec­tion would be shown at La Pausa. The com­pany had pur­chased the prop­erty two years ago, at the same time the theme for the col­lec­tion had been de­ter­mined. “The idea orig­i­nated from a pic­ture of Gabrielle Chanel on the Fly­ing

Cloud,” he re­calls. “It in­spired our de­sign stu­dio be­cause we had never ex­plored this pe­riod in her life. It be­came ob­vi­ous that we should bring the col­lec­tion to the South of France to a place where Gabrielle was prob­a­bly the hap­pi­est.”

The nau­ti­cal theme in the Fly­ing Cloud col­lec­tion is re­flected in the rings, bracelets and neck­laces that have lifebuoys in white gold, lapis lazuli, di­a­monds and cul­tured pearls. There are sailorin­spired sap­phire stripes on brooches and cuffs, as well as sailor tat­too rings. My favourite is the Sparkling Lines white gold neck­lace made from 49 round-cut di­a­monds and 2,823 bril­liant­cut di­a­monds. “Oh, that one is gone,” Grangié tells me, adding that most of the col­lec­tion has al­ready been sold mainly to women who pur­chased the pieces for them­selves. Th­ese stylish, well-heeled women would agree with Chanel’s ob­ser­va­tion that “lux­ury is a ne­ces­sity that starts where ne­ces­sity stops.”

CLOCK­WISE, FROM BOT­TOM LEFT: THE FLY­ING CLOUD; PRE­CIOUS FLOAT EAR­RINGS WITH DI­A­MONDS, LAPIS LAZULIS AND PEARLS; SAILOR TAT­TOO DI­A­MOND AND SAP­PHIRE RING; SAILOR TAT­TOO BRACELET WITH DI­A­MONDS; AND SPARKLING LINES NECK­LACE WITH DI­A­MONDS.

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