Gabrielle Chanel lived a life few women of her generation could have imagined. Fiercely ambitious, yet at the same time sentimental and romantic, she forever changed the fashion world with her ground-breaking approach to style. Masterfully adept at mixing the feminine and the masculine, she freed the women of the 20th century with her sensuously simple designs. By banishing the corset to the memories of the Belle Époque, she quite literally liberated women with her garments. From her days as an orphan in the abbey at Aubazine, to her life lived richly amongst the European aristocracy, Mademoiselle Chanel was deeply inspired by the world around her. Her love for the equestrian world she so enjoyed alongside Boy Capel can be seen in the quilting that has become synonymous with the House of CHANEL. Her love for the sea and the fashionable life along the Riviera – which she enjoyed alongside the Duke of Westminster and other luminaries like Cocteau and Picasso – was referenced in her frequent nautical touches.
Since the House of CHANEL re-entered the world of fine jewelry following Mademoiselle’s sole collection (find out more about it here and here), they have distinguished themselves by producing truly spectacular creations. Just as Monsieur Lagerfeld has expertly mixed the heritage of the House with his vision for the future when designing his multiple collections per year, so too has the House beautifully married the totems and memories of Mademoiselle Chanel’s life with each new High Jewelry collection. The latest addition to this special sphere of the House’s universe is the newly unveiled “Flying Cloud” collection. Named for the second Duke of Westminster’s elegant and impressive black and white four-masted yacht (which Mademoiselle spent some time sailing on with the Duke) the “Flying Cloud” collection is a celebration of the nautical aesthetic so loved by Chanel. Speaking to famed French author Paul Morand, she once said that “a stark white earring against a deeply tanned earlobe brings me great delight.” And how delighted Mademoiselle Chanel would be with this latest High Jewelry collection. Done in two chapters, the first celebrates the most simple and necessary of nautical accessories done in the most luxurious of materials. Buoys cast in white gold, lapis-lazuli and cultured pearls make up the Precious Float set while Yachting Day features white gold anchors, pearls and sapphires. Sails, compasses, and even tattoos are elegantly reimagined in the Sailor Tattoo set with white or yellow gold, sapphires and diamonds. The ocean itself is represented in both the Deep Blue and Turquoise Waters sets which also feature a combination of white gold, diamonds, and sapphires.
The second chapter of the “Flying Cloud” story is created around the summer wardrobe. It explores the freedom of movement and nautical sartorial elements so beloved by Mademoiselle Chanel. The Summer Cruise set features alternating bands of rich blue sapphires, white gold, cultured pearls, yellow gold and diamonds. The Golden Braid and Sailor Suit sets draw inspiration from the sartorial stylings of sailors with white and yellow gold mimicking the braids and buttons seem on marine uniforms. The maritime knot has been elevated to the sublime with Sunny Rope set which features ropes reimagined in the form of diamond and gold pieces dripping with glamour. However, there are two necklaces in particular which standout from the other spectacular creations that make up the ‘Flying Cloud’ collection. Crafted by master goldsmiths, there is a bib necklace done in a woven design of white gold and adorned with sapphires and cultured pearls from the Azurean Braid set and a white gold and diamond necklace in an undulating rope motif from the Endless Knot line that showcase the staggering beauty of this latest High Jewelry collection from the House of CHANEL. Simply stunning.
Images via CHANEL