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.”
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…
 “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).