TALES OF THE FLOATING CITY: ESCALE À VENISE BY CHANEL

SEVENTY MARVELOUS JEWELS TELL THE STORY OF THE ITALIAN WONDER IN THE LANGUAGE OF PRECIOUS METALS AND STONES

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Travelling the world through books – a romantic, affordable and eye-opening childhood experience for most of us.  

For Coco Chanel, books were more than just entertainment: they fuelled her imagination, giving her travel and education without leaving her room, allowing Chanel to discover countries, cultures and arts, which later influenced her legendary creations.  

In January 2016, Venice even hosted an exhibition “La Donna Che Legge” (“The Woman Who Reads”), a glimpse into Coco Chanel’s literary tastes, friendships and her relationships with books, writers, poets, artists and musicians.  

Back in the 1970s, Roland Barthes, the French literary critic, wrote in an article for Marie Claire magazine: “If you were to open a text about the history of literature today, you would find in it the name of a new classic author: Coco Chanel. Chanel does not write using paper and ink (except as a pastime), but with fabric, forms, colors.”[1]  

Chanel will always be Chanel.  

At the beginning of this year, the iconic fashion house presented a new high jewelry collection “Escale à Venise” (translated as “Stopover in Venice”): 70 pieces, of which 22 are one-of-a-kind, four brooches in a limited edition of five, as well as five high jewelry watches.  

The collection takes you to the engineering marvel of the world, the city of masks, bridges, romance and Murano glass, and submerges you in the colors, architecture and atmosphere of this extraordinary place – and Coco Chanel’s greatly loved destination – even if you have not yet had the good fortune to see it in person.  

Patrice Leguéreau, director of Chanel Jewelry Creation Studio, invites you to travel to this unique location not, this time, through the pages of books but through the facets of gemstones; to experience its indescribable grandeur through the colors of intricate enamel, layers of precious metals, the flight of imagination and the remarkable skills of Chanel’s jewelers.   

Symbolic depictions of blue-and-white mooring poles, ribboned boater hats, baroque lions from the facade of Saint Mark’s Basilica – the guardians and the spirit animals of Venice – the deep blue of the its starry skies, the tesserae of Byzantine architecture, scattered throughout the city… It takes an eminent mastermind to collect all the pieces of this mosaic and arrange them into an unparalleled object of jewelry art while staying true to the spirit of the city and to Chanel, firing people’s imagination without spiraling into clutter and chaos. It takes Patrice Leguéreau to do that.   

“Escale à Venise” is a collection with many faces, offering a contemporary interpretation of the different emblems of the Floating City. It consists of four parts: Sérénissime, Gran Canale, Isole della Laguna, and Spirito de Venezia.  

Sérénissime is the traditional name of the Republic of Venice or, in Venetian, Serenìsima Repùblega Vèneta – a sovereign state and maritime republic, which existed from 697 to 1797. It offers an intriguing interpretation of Venetian architecture: the facades of its palaces, the multicolored marble floors and mosaics of its churches, rendered in paragon, geometric lines, baguette-cut and round diamonds, warmed by the soft hues of Padparadascha and mandarin sapphires and rose gold.  

Gran Canale was inspired by the Venetian waterways: the big and small canals, brightly spotted with gondoliers’ hats, reimagined as whimsical cocktail rings, with ribbons set in red and black enamel and diamond pavé, as well as the blue-and-white mooring poles, dreamed up in the blue enamel and diamond pavé of earrings, necklaces and bangles.  

Isole della Laguna plays with the theme of camellia, Coco Chanel’s best-loved flower. Inspired by Venetian Murano glass, this iconic blossom is given new meaning and structure in rock crystal, hand-carved into the shape of the classic Chanel camellia, punctuated with diamonds and set in yellow gold.  

Spirito de Venezia contemplates the image of the lion – Coco Chanel’s astrological sign and her favorite talisman – and the blue-and-gold starry scene on the rooftop of Saint Mark’s Basilica. The winged lion on the Basilica is guarding the Bible on Chanel’s one-of-a-kind ring – an impressive pear-shaped diamond.  

High jewelry by Chanel is almost impossible to put into words. Beautiful? Beyond compare. Stunning? Absolutely. One-of-a-kind? Without question.  

Their new high jewelry collection “Escale à Venise” captures the heart and soul, colors and shapes, air and mood of the city and translates them so precisely into the language of beauty and art that even a person who has never been there can say: This is Venice!  

Let the “Escale à Venise” jewels speak for themselves. Give in to their charm. Listen to their story…          

 

[1] “Si vous ouvriez aujourd’hui une histoire de notre littérature, vous devriez y trouver le nom d’un nouvel auteur classique: Coco Chanel. Chanel n’écrit pas avec du papier et de l’encre (sauf à ses moments perdus) mais avec de l’étoffe, des formes et des couleurs […].” (source: Identités visuelles (Formes sémiotiques) by Jean-Marie Floch).    

CLASSIC PEARLS SHOWING THEIR TEETH IN SCHIAPARELLI’S INTERPRETATION

EDGY BRACELET AND EARRINGS BY THE SURREALIST MAISON

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Look closer. Much closer. What do you see?  

They look classy and classic but once you realize what they really are, you are bound to smile.  

On closer inspection, the splendid, huge, white pearls are… teeth!  

Each gold-colored tooth is clutching a massive, teardrop-shaped pearl.  

The Large Tooth Earrings and Tooth Bracelet in gilded brass with white pearls, from Schiaparelli’s Autumn–Winter 2020/21 Ready-to-Wear collection are a direct expression of the temperamental and unpredictable nature of the Maison.  

The founder of the Maison, Elsa Schiaparelli, was always balancing on the edge of surreal glamour. Experimenting and remodeling classics, submerged in the spectacular art of her close friends Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Jean Cocteau, she brought the avant-garde and eccentric vision of art into fashion.   

The innovative and influential artist and designer who was the first to use brightly colored zippers and figural buttons resembling small brooches in her clothing designs, the visionary inventor of “Shocking Pink” – the ultra-bright magenta hue – Elsa was not one to err on the side of safety.  

Nor was status quo her territory, whether in color choices or in the cuts and shapes of her clothes. Schiaparelli’s divided skirts – predecessors of the modern, chic culottes – caused a straight-out scandal and condemnation by the conservative British press back at the beginning of the 20th century. She challenged, recolored and reshaped what was considered fashionable in sharp contrast to her elegant rival, Coco Chanel, creator of the minimalist, ultra-feminine little black dress.  

Schiaparelli reputedly referred to Chanel as to “that dreary little bourgeoisie” and “that milliner”, while Mademoiselle Chanel backlashed with a dismissive “that Italian artist who makes clothes”. Coco Chanel is even said to have tried to set Elsa on fire at a high-society costume ball, just before the outbreak of World War II.  

Their takes on jewelry were also diametrically opposite: Chanel’s understated, simple elegance versus Schiaparelli’s unrestrained, never-before-seen shapes and colors.  

Today, Maison Schiaparelli continues to produce cool and edgy clothing and jewelry. They dressed Michelle Obama for Barack Obama’s second inauguration and Lady Gaga when she performed The Star-Spangled Banner, America’s national anthem, at Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Daniel Roseberry, Artistic Director of the Maison, summarizes its philosophy in a razor-sharp comment to Vogue (link: https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-couture/schiaparelli): “It’s just something that’s not as polite as couture typically tends to be.”  

The powerful statement Tooth Earrings and Bracelet by Schiaparelli capture the glorious and most amusing moments of life, the phantasmagorical and hilarious moments of our existence, with the unstoppable creativity and imagination of the Maison’s designers generating an alternative vision to the ubiquitous white pearl classics.  

INFINITY IN HER EYES, ETERNITY IN HER EARS: HOOP EARRINGS BY TAFFIN

FLIRTATIOUS, TIMELESS AND ULTRAFEMININE, THE HOOPS ARE BACK

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Can a man know a woman so well that he can create exactly what she wants?

In a moment of doubt, I recalled James Taffin de Givenchy, a jewelry designer, an expert in exotic gems and the founder of TAFFIN – the eponymous couture jewelry house, creator of pieces that are both zesty and experimental.

James Taffin de Givenchy is an alchemist, balancing emotion, intellect and logic to design one-of-a-kind objects of wearable art.

His easily recognizable designs often feature unconventional materials: rubber, ceramic (Taffin’s signature ingredient), wood, even steel from recycled AK-47s, resulting in thrilling challenges and, on occasion, a royal pain for the house’s jewelers who must find ingenious and innovative solutions to bring those imaginative projects to life. And, ultimately, pure joy for the women who will be wearing them!

Among James’s recent, dreamy creations are large hoop earrings: a delicate lace of carved white jade, sprinkled with rose gold ceramic and turquoise beads.

Time and time again, I’ve come back to these mesmerizing, semitranslucent jade circles: looking for the perfect angle, the perfect light, the perfect painting to reveal their transcendent beauty and breezy vibes. My many searches have at last come to an end with the intriguing portrait of a woman by Chris Gambrell.

Hoop earrings are as old as time. In Ancient Egypt, even cats were pictured with hoops in their ears. Bast, or Bastet – the Egyptian goddess of home, fertility and childbirth, protector of home from evil spirits and disease, embodiment of gracefulness and affection – was sculpted and portrayed as a black cat wearing a gold necklace and gold hoop earrings.

That said, they never fall out of fashion. Throughout a history of ever-changing tastes, trends and styles, these eye-catching classic circles, symbols of eternity, might sometimes accidentally disappear from the horizon, only to make an even more ambitious and spectacular comeback.

The hoops by TAFFIN are back!

For woman, for the goddess, and for a stunning amalgamation of both.

ICONIC SHAPES FOR ALL TIMES AND EVERY WRIST: CALLA BRACELETS BY VHERNIER

ASTOUNDING AND TIMELESS, CALLA BRACELETS HAVE BECOME EVEN MORE COMFORTABLE AND CLOSER TO THE SKIN

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Gold and titanium, monochrome and mixed, metal-only and adorned with signature diamond pavé, with large and medium-sized links, the Calla bracelets by Vhernier are a recognizable, versatile and unique attribute of style, equally capable of elevating а chic, casual outfit or amplifying the splendor of а sublime evening gown.

The Italian jewelry house has transformed the fragile essence of the calla flower into an iconic, rhythmic and meditative succession of precious cones.

Lean, elegant and sensual, the emblematic Calla line by Vhernier, encompassing necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings and pendants, has evolved since its conception in 1999, becoming slimmer, more curved and ergonomic to comfortably embrace wrists, fingers, neck and ear lobes without breaking the original aesthetics of the series.

Our favorite version of Calla bracelets with diamond pavé is captivating: viewed from one angle, the diamonds are “hiding”, leaving the pure, laconic, titanium and gold links in pristine glamour. As you rotate your hand, the subtle diamond circles reveal themselves. The smooth cones turn into tiny, stylized rockets, shooting gentle, shiny flames into space around your wrists.

Contemporary and archetypal, the timeless Calla bracelets are a perfect adornment for every stylish wrist.

THE TRANSCENDENT. THE WISE. THE BEAUTIFUL. THE WOMAN

IN CELEBRATION OF EVERY WOMAN AND EVERY MOTHER

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It has become common practice to talk about women and men, femininity and masculinity in terms of Yin and Yang – contradictory, yet inseparable opposites. Women, the traditional representatives of Yin energy, have been celebrated as the sweet, gentle safekeepers of life, while men are destined to conquer, dominate and protect.

But the woman of today is, herself, both Yin and Yang. Balancing ever-increasing demands of family and career, she stands tall as a stronghold of ]opposing powers and idiosyncrasies: а svelte entrepreneur corralling a bunch of happy toddlers; an uncompromising politician with a weak point for her grandkids; a cool-headed brain surgeon who writes children’s books as a hobby; a lightning-fast sprinter, supporting dogs in an animal shelter.

Even when those opposing forces are not as dramatic, they are always there – softness and backbone, daintiness and solidity, centuries-old wisdom and contemporary intelligence – in every woman, in every single one of us. Just look inside to find it.

That is how I discovered the color red: the color of daring, of courage, the lipstick of a femme fatale, the color of fragrant wild strawberries, and of blood, which, let’s face it, is the inescapable companion of every birth, every new life.

Strong, spirited and beautiful: I chose this color as a statement to celebrate Women’s Day and Mother’s Day this year.

The symbolism behind the crimson red earrings from Sylvia Furmanovich’s Amazonia Bamboo collection is striking: the artist turns this common plant, an ordinary building material and food product in South, East, and Southeast Asia, into refined pieces of art. Through her daring designs, attention to detail and passion for traditional and innovative craftsmanship, her mix of precious and semiprecious stones, pearls and metals, she elevates the humble, yet strong and resilient bamboo to the dizzying heights of spicy, delicate and feminine refinement.

This is the quintessence of all the beauty in the world, which would never have happened were it not for the women.

Happy Women’s Day!

And Happy Mother’s Day!

ALL WE ARE WE OWE TO OUR MOTHERS …

A WOMAN OF VALOR, WHO CAN FIND? FOR HER PRICE IS FAR ABOVE RUBIES

by Naomi Gryn 

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P. Picasso Maternite' (Mother and Child), 1963 Lithograph

Surprisingly, Britain’s Mothering Sunday – commemorated this year on 14 March – does not share its origins with USA’s Mother’s Day, but grew out of a 16th century custom for worshippers to visit their ‘mother church’ – often a cathedral – for a special service on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Domestic servants would be given the day off to visit their parents, with Lent’s fasting rules relaxed, and often taking with them a gift.

The tradition fell out of fashion by the beginning of the 20th century but was revived by a vicar’s daughter, Constance Penswick-Smith. In time, this became fused in style with the American Mother’s Day which was first established in West Virginia in 1908 by social activist Anna Jarvis to honor the memory of her own mother who had died three years earlier. It caught on like wildfire and by 1914 it had become a national holiday, celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

Appalled by the way Mother’s Day was commercialized, Anna later tried to reverse it. “A printed card means nothing” she wrote, “except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”

Is there any love more selfless and unconditional than a mother’s for her children…

CLOSE TO YOUR SKIN AND LIGHT YEARS AWAY: CÉPHÉIDE NECKLACE AND ULTRAVIOLET EARRINGS BY VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

FROM THE NEW HIGH JEWELRY COLLECTION ‘SOUS LES ETOILES’ COME SOME POWERFUL AND EXTRAORDINARY DEPICTIONS OF THE STARS ABOVE  

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Painting by Michal Lukasiewicz

Celestial bodies fabulously beyond our reach and range of vision, many of which, even in these high-tech times, exist only in the calculations of mathematicians and astronomers and have yet to be captured by even the most advanced telescopes, it’s the stars and galaxies, constellations and nebulae that have inspired Van Cleef & Arpels to create their latest wonder: the ‘Sous Les Etoiles’ collection (translated as ‘Under the Stars’).  

The designers and jewelers at Van Cleef & Arpels have reached into the depths of ancient archives and sci-fi movies, primitive old-time drawings and cutting-edge visualizations, NASA imagery and their own imagination, to look more closely at the skies.  

The women from the paintings by Michal Lukasiewicz are wearing the one-of-a-kind Céphéide necklace and matching, unique Ultraviolet earrings from this new, stellar collection.  

Cepheids – giant, pulsating stars – gave Van Cleef & Arpels the idea to create this eponymous, transformable necklace, featuring eleven chalcedony cabochons, mauve sapphires, tsavorite garnets and diamonds.  

The deep, hypnotizing indigo of the night sky, revealing itself in dreamy two-tone tanzanites and mauve sapphires, is pierced by glowing diamonds of stars and the jolly verdure of tsavorites, reflected by the matching Ultraviolet earrings, complete with detachable pendants.  

Preoccupied by our daily hustle and bustle, we have stopped paying attention to the skies. But have we, really? On 18 February 2021, NASA landed its rover Perseverance on Mars. To raise public awareness of this mission, NASA initiated a ‘Send Your Name to Mars’ campaign, where anyone could send their name to the Red Planet on a microchip, stored aboard the rover. Once registration had been completed, it turned out that a whopping 10,932,295 names had been submitted – all to be flown to Mars!  

This euphoria over reaching out to the skies, the ambitious and competitive NASA and SpaceX projects, the butterflies we get in our stomachs when we look at creations as wonderful and exquisite as the ‘Sous Les Etoiles’ jewelry: everything points to how the stars have not been forgotten.  

The galaxies of precious stones and metals, the ultra-sophisticated and poetic mastery of Van Cleef & Arpels’ jewelers and designers, the mesmerizing energy of the magnificent Céphéide necklace and Ultraviolet earrings are clear evidence that, even at the peak of the current bumpy ride, human hearts and eyes never stop looking – and finding – the beauty beneath and above the dome of the sky.

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