Say “Chanel” and three things come to mind: Gabrielle Chanel, her equally iconic successor Karl Lagerfeld, and tweed.
The last of three — that highly-textured Scottish wool fabric that Gabrielle Chanel was so enamoured with that it became a staple of her designs — is the inspiration for Chanel’s latest high jewellery collection, Tweed de Chanel.
Designed by Patrice Leguéreau, Chanel’s director of jewellery studio, the collection brilliantly mimics the intricate fabric through 45 jewellery pieces, including necklaces, cuff bracelets, drop earrings and statement rings. There are also three jewelled watches to choose from.
Chanel’s craftsmen employed a series of complex jewellery design techniques for the collection. Gemstones like diamonds, onyx and pearls (another Chanel favourite) were delicately intertwined with yellow gold and platinum, creating multiple layers that resemble tweed’s distinctive texture. The fabric’s irregular weave was also replicated through various cuts of gems, held together with miniature chains.
And just like there are a plethora of tweed fabrics used across Chanel’s collections, Tweed de Chanel offers designs that echo its various characteristics. Some of the jewellery pieces flaunt contrasting colours, while others are made with a fringe effect.
All that painstaking detail, naturally, took the collection months to complete. The Tweed Couture necklace alone was finished after 980 hours of work — and to spectacular result, as evident above.
The Tweed de Chanel collection is the latest high jewellery collection by Chanel to revolve around its founder’s symbols. The Maison has previously unveiled collections based on Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite flower, the camellia, as well as her star sign, Leo.
Tweed, a traditional menswear fabric, became associated with the French designer after she started incorporating it in her womenswear designs. Chanel had preferred the wool fabric because of its softness, comfort and distinctive appearance. She even went on to create her own variations, combining classic tweeds with silks, cottons and cellophane to give it a high fashion edge.
Tweed de Chanel, then, is perhaps the Maison’s most luxurious interpretation of the fabric — and one that Coco would certainly have approved of.