Runway Report: CHANEL L’ESPRIT DU LION

While the House of CHANEL is known for producing beautiful costume jewelry since Mademoiselle Chanel first debuted her original creations in the first half of the 20th century, it has also distinguished itself as a creator of absolutely exquisite fine and high jewelry. As with anything within the universe of CHANEL, incredible care and passion is combined with the specialized knowledge of some of the best artisans in the world to produce these incredible special jewelry collections. While Mademoiselle Chanel personally designed only one jewelry collection featuring precious stones, the House has honoured her spirit in the subsequent collections it has presented since re-introducing it’s Fine and High Jewelry. {You can find out more about this special collection and the scandal around it here and here}

Totems and symbols held particular importance to Mademoiselle Chanel – they inspired her creations and collections and could be found almost everywhere within her world. They, like Chanel herself, continue to significantly impact and inspire the world of CHANEL. For the latest CHANEL High Jewelry collection, L’ESPRIT DU LION, the house looks to one of her most beloved totems, the mighty lion. Born on August 19th, Mademoiselle Chanel’s astrological sign was the Leo and it was a symbol that she particularly identified with. She wove the lion into many of her designs placing it on suit buttons and on the clasps of handbags. She also was drawn to the lion as it is a proud symbol found throughout Venice, a city that was particularly beloved by her and that also inspired her designs with its rich gold accented architecture.

In 2012, the lion made its first appearance in a CHANEL High Jewelry collection and again in 2013 when the house premiered the SOUS LE SIGNE DU LION collection which paid homage to both Mademoiselle Chanel’s zodiac sign and the much adored city of Venice. 2018 has brought the mighty and sensuous lion back to the world of CHANEL High Jewelry with the L’ESPRIT DU DION collection. Inspired by the very lions found in Chanel’s apartment above the original CHANEL boutique at 31 Rue Cambon, the collection is a stunning representation of the power and beauty of this majestic animal. Done in yellow and white gold, and set with sumptuous diamonds, sapphires, beryls, and imperial topazes, the multi-chain necklaces, earrings, rings, open bracelets and chokers truly stun with their beauty and intricacy. Watches also feature prominently in the collection and are absolutely jaw-dropping in their beauty and construction. The Montre Lion Timeless (pictured above) is a particularly incredible piece. This diamond encrusted pavé piece combines the chain detailing found on many an iconic CHANEL items with the powerful image of a lion resting it’s paw upon a large diamond solitaire which symbolizes the world with the lion its fierce conquerer. Done in gilt bronze, marble, and sculpted wood, totems like this very lion can be found placed on tables or perched atop the ledge of Mademoiselle Chanel’s fireplace on 31 Rue Cambon.

To Mademoiselle Chanel, the lion represented a fierce power and independence, two traits that she particularly admired and embodied herself. L’ESPRIT DU LION is an incredible collection in its beauty and the honour and homage that it pays to this legendary woman.

{To find out more about Mademoiselle Chanel’s love of symbolism and her beloved totems, check out my article about my experience at the Mademoiselle Privé exhibit in London here}