Around the time that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel visited Hollywood in the early 1930s – at the invitation of producer Samuel Goldwyn, to design costumes for his films – the famous French dressmaker created another game-changing item. within his workshop: a high-jewelry the collection.
The professional relationship with Goldwyn did not last, although the 1931s Tonight or never, starring Gloria Swanson, is a terrific look at Chanel’s creations in film. But his idea of producing fine jewelry (one-of-a-kind jewels that represent the pinnacle of stones and craftsmanship) has endured and transformed the jewelry and red carpet industry.
In 1932, Chanel launched its first high jewelry collection with the 50-piece “Bijoux de Diamants”, which focused on comets and stars.
Ninety years later, the house honors this moment with its latest high jewelry offering. Baptized “1932”, the 77 models pay homage to Chanel’s original vision. “The spirit and style of Gabrielle Chanel are the inspiration,” says Patrice Leguéreau, director of Chanel’s high jewelry design studio. THR exclusively, “and from there I work with ideas of lightness, femininity, transformability and flexibility of movement.” Such thinking is one of the reasons Leguereau prefers to design using a mannequin’s torso, so he can ensure a necklace sits perfectly on a customer’s neck.
Chanel launched the collection in Paris in July, and it is now set to arrive in Los Angeles for a party and dinner at a private venue on October 20. Marion Cotillard, Whitney Peak and Jurnee Smollett are among the stars expected at the show, which will include recently completed unreleased pieces.
What motivated the decision to bring the collection to Los Angeles? “It’s also a very important city for jewelry and art, a very dynamic place,” says Leguéreau. “There is also the link between Gabrielle Chanel and Los Angeles, when she arrived to create fashion for the cinema, but that’s also where we have quite a few clients. All of these things made it a natural decision.
In addition to the dinner, it is essential to present the collection to the customers during the brief period that the jewels will be in LA
Highlights include the Allure Céleste necklace, which showcases a deep blue oval-cut sapphire totaling 55.55 carats on a fully transformable design. The three “halos” adorning the necklace can be detached and worn as brooches, while a row of diamonds can also be detached and worn as a bracelet, creating a shortened necklace. “For me, it’s the necklace that best expresses the spirit of the collection and the spirit of Gabrielle Chanel,” notes Leguéreau. “It’s important to be able to wear jewelry at different times of the day, as you wish, and that’s why I like to create transformable pieces. It’s the choice to wear the jewelry as you wish.
The search for the perfect stones is integral to the design of fine jewelry, while Leguereau also appreciates the bit of kismet that occurs when certain gemstones are presented to him. This 55.55-carat sapphire, for example, naturally evokes thoughts of Chanel No. 5, while two other models feature a white diamond and a yellow diamond, weighing 19.32 carats each. “They’re also really high quality and a great fit, so I thought they just had to be part of this collection,” says Leguereau, adding with a smile, “they made it really easy for me “.
And with the 100th anniversary of Chanel’s decision to create fine jewelry on the horizon, Leguereau says the ideas for these designs already take up space in his mind. “In 10 years, I will probably go in several directions [to celebrate the 100th anniversary], so that’s another reason why I wanted this anniversary to be more about Chanel’s love for these elements and the poetic aspect of the stars,” he says. Indeed, if Leguéreau seeks purity and simplicity in its creations, it is always with an eye on the attitude of the house’s founder, who once said of her original high jewelry collection: “I wanted to cover women in constellations.
A version of this story first appeared in the October 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.