Coco Chanel’s passion for fabulous jewels, for exceptional stones, and for improbable marvels produced pieces that were unparalleled in their insistence on luxury and refinement. Drawing inspiration from tradition, Chanel was never the slave of everyday formulas or market values. Yet she reinvented tradition in the most arresting and modern jewelry pieces, based on her love of color and her assured command of austere classical beauty. Chanel was a creature of contrasts: there was the Chanel of sumptuous baroque, of rococo mirrors and dazzling, playful, unrestrained jewelry; and there was the Chanel of the utmost restraint, of classicism a la française. Out of this dialogue between ostentation and austerity, the jewelry that Chanel created throughout her long career has been celebrated in many revivals of her exceptional taste. From the direct re-creations of the 1932 Collection to the newest interpretations of comets and stars, plumes and feathers, and Chanel’s signature flower, the camellia, this book is true to the spirit of her enterprise. Classic images from the archives combine with exciting new photography to bring old and new together.
Patrick Mauriès is an aficionado of private collections and cabinets of curiosities. He is the author of Cabinets of Curiosities, Fornasetti, and Jewelry by Chanel.