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Lhe Chanel brand perfectly represents the style of the Parisienne, with a look that is both sophisticated and casual chic. Like its founder Gabrielle Chanel, with a determined temperament, the brand still imposes its own codes of luxury today. Let's discover the history of the brand to better understand its iconic creations.

From his beginnings as a milliner to sporty outfits

Gabrielle Chanel, born in Saumur, moved to Paris in 1910, rue Cambon as a milliner. From the summer, thanks to her mentors and lovers (the Frenchman and horse breeder Etienne Balsan and the English polo player, Boy Capel), she opened boutiques in Deauville and Biarritz, offering her first sports outfits borrowed from the world. equestrian. In particular, its famous quilted pattern is inspired by lads' outfits and horse saddle pads. With her impertinent nickname, Coco Chanel shortens skirts and frees women's bodies. She cuts dresses out of stable boys' jerseys, which will quickly become her favorite material. With her boyish hairstyle, she breaks the codes by playing on a masculine-feminine style with tweed and jacquard patterns borrowed from the British style. This jacquard pattern and the quilting are reinterpreted today in a stylized way with the particularly iconic new Coco Crush collection.

The camellia as an emblem

In 1923, Gabrielle Chanel chose the camellia as her emblem, borrowing this flower from Parisian dandies, such as Marcel Proust wearing it in his buttonhole. She pins this winter flower, native to Asia, on a first chiffon dress. This flower also reminds her of the Dame aux Camélias, interpreted with talent by Sarah Bernhardt whom she had admired at the theater during her childhood. A true iconic flower of the brand, the camellia is reinterpreted today in multiple materials: tweed, feathers or satin. In jewelry, the sculpture of stones called glyptics makes it possible to create precious flowers in onyx or white agate, not to mention white pearls to honor this delicate flower.

The creation of a jewelry workshop

In 1924, Gabrielle Chanel opened a costume jewelry workshop. If her clothes are sober, she wants to embellish them with opulent jewelry. She thus mixes rhinestones, fake or real pearls with fine stones. She surrounds herself with talented designers like Etienne de Beaumont or Paul Iribe. But it was above all the Italian jeweler Fulco di Verdura, whom she met in Venice, who created her emblematic pieces such as the Maltese cross bracelet with multicolored fine stones or the iconic chain of the Chanel brand. In 1926, she also creates her famous “little black dress”, a color traditionally reserved for mourning, but enhanced with white pearl necklaces bringing a beautiful shine. These pearls transformed into long necklaces bring movement to a silhouette or are transformed into elegant pendant earrings or imposing baroque rings. 

The 1932 Diamond Jewelry collection

Unique jewelery collection, made by Gabrielle Chanel, the Bijoux de Diamants collection pays tribute to the brilliance of this precious stone under the watchful eye of a seamstress. The necklaces are transformed into fringes reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties or precious ribbons evoking the wise Peter Pan collars of his childhood at boarding school. Believing in celestial magic, Mademoiselle Chanel had seen a shooting star above the Jardin des Tuileries bringing her luck. She decides to create a Etoile Filante necklace and a Comet brooch. Most of the pieces are convertible, already designed for free and emancipated women. The 1932 exhibition of his collection in his mansion, Faubourg Saint Honoré, was a real success. “I want the jewel to be on the fingers of the woman like a ribbon. I wanted to cover women with constellations,” she explains at the launch. But this free woman offering a modern interpretation of the diamond came up against the opposition of the jewelers of Place Vendôme who demanded that the diamond dealers dismantle the pieces. Fortunately, since 1993 when setting up its jewelry boutique on Place Vendôme, the Chanel brand has relaunched this mythical collection and brings many variations each year.

The revolutionary material ceramic

In the year 2000, the Chanel brand unveiled its first J12 ceramic watch which revolutionized the world of watchmaking. This high-tech material, six times harder than steel, is suitable for this sports watch, available in white and black or in titanium ceramic. The occasion was too good to also revisit its Ultra jewelry collection with ceramic links interspersed with white gold rows and sometimes enhanced with diamonds. Mademoiselle Chanel liked to say: “Black holds everything. White too. They are absolutely beautiful, it's the perfect match”. Chanel has not only been able to create a style, but has always known how to reinvent itself!