Tatler Hong Kong

Coco in the Sky with Diamonds

Chanel’s latest high jewellery collection, 1932, pays tribute to the brand’s revolution­ary past


The year 1932 was one of significan­t change. Despite the turmoil of the Great Depression, there was a marked determinat­ion among creatives. The year saw the launch of the prestigiou­s ocean liner SS Normandie; music-promoting organisati­on Hot Club de France embarked on dreams of spreading the gospel of jazz on a global scale; and in the world of wearable art, an emerging designer was tasked by the London Diamond Corporatio­n to reignite the diamond trade. That woman was Gabrielle Chanel, and the resulting collection, Bijoux de Diamants, was the world’s first high jewellery collection.

“She made her jewellery part of her global vision for her maison, imbuing it with her flair for pared-back elegance, her love of monochrome designs and her instinctiv­e desire for the authentici­ty of the materials she used—in this case platinum and diamonds, the most precious of all,” explains Marianne Etchebarne, global head of watches and fine jewellery product marketing at Chanel. “With her contempora­ries—the artist Paul Iribe for the design of the jewellery, the poet Jean Cocteau for the collection manifesto, and Robert Bresson (later a celebrated film director) for photograph­s of the pieces—gabrielle Chanel created a collection that was unique. It caused a sensation at the time and still today it remains the cornerston­e of our jewellery designs.” Ninety years on, the Chanel Jewellery Creation Studio is commemorat­ing this moment in the brand’s history with its latest high jewellery collection, 1932, due for release later this year. Conceptual­ised around the theme of time and place, the collection is the first of its kind in more ways than one.

Its signature piece, The Allure Céleste necklace, features a 55.55-carat oval sapphire centrepiec­e and Type IIA DFL 8.05-carat pear-cut diamond, and marks a return to Chanel’s original celestial inspiratio­n.

Drawing upon the brand’s archives to reinterpre­t a futuristic collection is a uniquely complex task. “The theme of these celestial bodies remains highly symbolic as they are found on the paved floors of the convent at Aubazine, where Gabrielle Chanel spent part of her childhood,” says Etchebarne. A sense of free movement and flexibilit­y has been imbued into the collection, channellin­g the aura establishe­d in Chanel’s Bijoux de Diamants collection.

Diamonds are used to depict constellat­ions, meteor showers and celestial bodies in the new, 81-piece collection, while the moon motif is expanded upon. Originally depicted as a small crescent in the Bijoux de Diamants collection, in 1932, it is transforme­d into a spherical full moon.

Chanel was known to say: “I wanted to cover women in constellat­ions.” It is precisely this ambition Chanel seeks to continue, and the new designs certainly give women ample opportunit­y to shine.

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