A Superlunary Vision: Chanel Launches Milestone ‘1932’ Collection
'I wanted to cover women in constellations' – Gabrielle Chanel
Chanel brings the moon and stars back into orbit with its most recent high jewellery offering, the ‘1932’ collection.
Why Colourful Jewellery Is Making a Comeback
Chanel Launches Milestone ‘1932’ Collection
World-renowned French luxury fashion house Chanel is starting the year in a big way. The brand launches the new ‘1932’ collection this January, which will commemorate the 90th anniversary of Gabreille ‘Coco’ Chanel’s first and only High Jewellery collection, ‘Bijoux de Diamants’. At the forefront of the campaign is the Allure Céleste necklace, created by the Director of the Chanel Jewellery Creation Studio, Patrice Leguéreau.
Created during the thick of the Great Depression, the original ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ collection was created with the intention of bringing hope and renewal to its audience. The London Diamond Corporation, who were looking to create something truly visionary, turned to Gabrielle Chanel.
Choosing to adopt a celestial, dreamlike vision for the collection, Gabrielle looked to the night sky:
‘In the past, jewellery came from a drawing. […] My jewellery came from an idea! I wanted to cover women in constellations. Stars! Stars of all sizes to sparkle in the hair, fringes, crescent moons. See these comets where the head glitters on a shoulder and the sparkling tail slips behind the shoulders to fall back down in a shower of stars on the chest…’
Gabrielle Chanel in response to an interview (‘Le luxe de Paris contre le chômage’) in L’Intransigeant of October 26, 1932.
Dazzling and opulent, the vibrant legacy of the High Jewellery collection (the world’s first) is honoured today by those at Chanel.
Described as ‘a voyage beyond space and time’, the ‘1932’ collection highlights the timeless celestial theme by tracing a new map of the skies. With 81 individual creations in total – of which 15 are transformable – the collection shines as one of the most notable releases of the year. The wearer, spoilt for choice, can decide how the heavenly bodies decorate their skin. But where the original ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ emphasised a clean glow, the ‘1932’ collection is all about coloured gemstones.
In the signature piece of the collection, the Allure Céleste necklace, the comet that became an iconic visual for Chanel takes pride of place alongside a crescent moon, both of which radiate light in a shimmering halo with the aid of diamonds and sapphires.
An Interview with Patrice Leguéreau and Marianne Etchebarne of Chanel
We chat with Patrice Leguéreau, Director of the Chanel Jewellery Creation Studio, and Marianne Etchebarne, Global Head of Watches and Fine Jewellery Product Marketing, Clients and Communication at Chanel, as they present the ‘1932’ anniversary collection.
With the ‘1932’ collection you celebrate for the second time the anniversary of the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ High Jewellery collection created by Mademoiselle Chanel. What is the look of this new collection?
PL: In 2012, I wanted to reinterpret the entirety of the original collection, with its symbols of the sky (comet, moon and sun) and of couture (feather, ribbon, and fringe). In 2022, I have chosen to concentrate exclusively on the celestial theme, the comet, the moon, and the sun, embodied in just one piece in 1932, but in 2022 becomes an icon in its own right.
The volumes of the jewellery seem different this time, even more feminine and more refined than in your previous collections.
PL: The spirit of movement, freedom and flexibility inspired by Mademoiselle Chanel in 1932 is celebrated in the transformable nature of some of the pieces. Elements of the necklaces may be detached and worn as brooches, while the central stones can be used to enrich a ring or earrings.
Each jewel is composed of a line of diamonds adorned with a celestial motif. The purity of the lines is specifically designed to enhance the beauty of the stones, especially the diamonds, which have been selected in a variety of shapes to create depth and different graphic rhythms.
What does ‘1932’ evoke for you?
ME: First and foremost, that date marks a milestone for Chanel. In November 1932, Gabrielle Chanel presented ‘Bijoux de Diamants’, her one and only High Jewellery collection, commissioned by the Diamond Corporation Ltd. Sales of diamonds had been badly hit by the economic crisis of 1929, and they put their trust in the creative talent of Gabrielle Chanel, then at the height of her fame, to revive them.
With her contemporaries – the artist Paul Iribe for the design of the jewellery, the poet Jean Cocteau for the collection manifesto, and Robert Bresson (later a celebrated film director) for photographs of the pieces – Gabrielle Chanel created a collection that was unique. It caused a sensation at the time and still today it remains the cornerstone of our jewellery designs.
‘1932’ is the name we have chosen for our new High Jewellery collection, which pays tribute to the 90th anniversary of ‘Bijoux de Diamants’.
How do you account for the fact that nearly a century later the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ still inspires you?
ME: To start, Gabrielle Chanel had a visionary approach to jewellery. She had the idea of creating the first High Jewellery collection in history to revolve around one overarching theme – the symbols of her universe (celestial shapes and couture) – which was showcased in her own apartment for 15 days, another forward-thinking move. No other jeweller of her era had ever worked like this. Gabrielle Chanel took the principles that made her celebrated in the world of couture and applied them to jewellery, highlighting the way the pieces were worn and how they moved by displaying them on eerily lifelike wax mannequins, complete with make-up and hats, which meant women could immediately visualise themselves wearing the pieces.
Another feature of the collection was the intimate nature of the relationship between Mademoiselle and her jewellery. Just like her clothes, the rings and necklaces were worn directly on the skin, so she took great care to ensure that the jewellery had a supple often open construction, they were comfortable and transformable at will. In a world that was deeply masculine, Gabrielle Chanel was a woman who designed for women. In her view jewellery should be an idea, not a status symbol of the men who bought it for the women in their lives.
In another highly innovative move, she made her jewellery part of her global vision for her Maison imbuing it with her flair for pared-back elegance, her love of monochrome designs and her instinctive desire for the authenticity of the materials she used – in this case platinum and diamonds, the most precious of all. Thus when our Jewellery department was created in 1993, it had its true place. The legacy from the creative impulse of 1932 has always been firmly anchored in the vision and spirit of the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ collection.
What would you like us to remember about the ‘1932’ collection?
PL: At Chanel, we are reinventing the key themes from the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ collection to honour and celebrate the vision that Mademoiselle Chanel set out to bring to the world of High Jewellery in 1932. ‘I wanted to cover women in constellations,’ she would say. I hope that this is what we have achieved, by sprinkling showers of diamonds over their décolleté, putting scintillating comets around their wrists, and presenting them with celestial shapes, illuminating a woman’s own radiance.
Browse the ‘1932’ collection now at chanel.com
Images courtesy of Chanel
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