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Les Blés de Chanel

For their Hight Jewellery collection, Chanel took over the iconic Place Vendôme in central Paris, collaborating with the legendary artist Gad Weil, who once turned Champs Élysées into Green Boulevard. Those walking through the Place

Chanel

For their Hight Jewellery collection, Chanel took over the iconic Place Vendôme in central Paris, collaborating with the legendary artist Gad Weil, who once turned Champs Élysées into Green Boulevard. Those walking through the Place found themselves in the middle of a wheat field outside the legendary Ritz, where Gabrielle Chanel’s beloved suite was converted into a showcase space for the select media and VIP guests to present the brand’s latest High Jewellery collection. The collection carries strong references to wheat which was evident throughout my tour with the brand on the day.

When speaking to the brand of the inspiration, I was told that as far back as Gabrielle Chanel could remember, from her childhood onwards, she always had fond memories of wheat. Coincidentally, her date of birth on August 19th is at the same moment as the harvest festival. This celebration held at the end of the Summer was the symbol of renewed prosperity and abundance because the harvests were plentiful and the granaries were full.

Chanel

For Gabrielle Chanel’s father wheat symbolised all that was good and wholesome. How many times as a child had she heard him call it “my good wheat”? This expression resounded with her all her life. And this “good wheat” never left her, turning it into one of her lucky charms.

Real, in wood, bronze or in a painting by her friend Dali, wheat was present in all its forms in her apartment at rue Cambon, in her suite at the Ritz or in her home in La Pausa. Gabrielle Chanel loved to surround herself with objects that “protected” her, as one can discover in her apartment at 31 rue Cambon. She would have wheat in the different places where she lived; either in real bunches of fresh wheat or in wood, brass or bronze. Some of the objects and books belonging to her were also decorated with it.

Chanel took a different approach this season as the collection uses vast quantities of coloured gemstones. I was explained to that the High Jewellery collection Les Blés de Chanel celebrates for the first time this fundamental element of Gabrielle Chanel’s world, this eternal symbol of regeneration, abundance, luck, prosperity and endless creativity. This collection is the first ever to be devoted entirely to wheat. Like the grain of wheat that renews itself endlessly, the collection evokes a continuous cycle. The green and yellow and other coloured gemstones are used: to represent both the young green wheat and the fully bloomed, golden wheat at harvest.

The pieces looked magnificent and I couldn’t help but wonder about the time it takes for them to be made. “It usually takes about 2 years,” I was promptly informed, “from the initial design drawings to the finished product.” According to Chanel, there are some pieces in this collection that required very specific attention:

Chanel

The Brins de Printemps necklace: The marquise shape is not a natural form for peridots; most commonly they are pear or oval cut. And so, nearly 6 months were required to collect all the stones needed for this set.

The Brins de Printemps bracelet: With a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, setting the peridots is a real challenge, since they can split at the slightest blow of the burin. This 9.81-carat peridot is held by only two angles giving the impression of it merely sitting on the wrist.

The Brins de Diamants- GM necklace: This convertible necklace can be worn in two ways: the necklace-style lends itself perfectly to a cocktail while the short version is ideal for a big dinner. Begin by presenting the necklace in its long-necklace version then in the shorter version.

The Légende de Blé necklace: The jeweller adjusted the metal structure by hand on the bust to obtain its perfect positioning. This piece required 620 hours to produce, not including the setting.

As to the specific choice of working with Gad Weil, the Fashion House reminded me that the cultural patronage is key at Chanel, and is a natural part of the their choice of cultural activities. Blés Vendôme is an encounter between the artist Gad Weil, and its patron Chanel. This dialogue between Chanel and a street artist follows in the footsteps of Gabrielle Chanel who was born in Saumur and inspired by wheat.

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