Nautical but nice: Chanel's new Flying Cloud jewellery collection

Sailor suits, tattoos, ropes and even buoyancy aids inspire Chanel’s new Flying Cloud high jewels in homage to Mademoiselle Chanel’s love of the sea.

Chanel Flying Cloud collection Turquoise Waters necklace

It was a stroke of luck for the designers chez Chanel that Mademoiselle Gabrielle loved sailing. The motifs of the maritime world present a rich source of inspiration for a jewellery collection with a refreshing colour palette of crisp white and blue. The jewels are named for the magnificent four-masted, black-hulled Flying Cloud yacht that belonged to Hugh Grosvenor, the second Duke of Westminster and one of the great loves of Coco’s life.

“Luxury is a necessity,” said Gabrielle Chanel, “that starts where necessity stops.” And it is this world of extreme luxury that Flying Cloud evokes. To enjoy the simple pleasures of sun on the face, wind ruffling hair and a lunch on the white deck of the Flying Cloud, 40 crew members were silently at work behind the scenes. Distilling luxury to its purest form was an art refined by Gabrielle Chanel, who taught the hidebound upper classes how to embrace the simple pleasures in life by turning them into the ultimate indulgence. In this mind-set, the blue of the high sea and an endless white horizon are captured in diamonds, sapphires, lapis lazuli, pearls and white gold.

Flying Cloud Golden Braid bracelet
The braid of a naval officer’s uniform becomes an opulent knot of gold and diamonds in a matching bracelet, ring and earrings in Chanel’s Golden Braid from the Flying Cloud collection. Chanel Fine Jewelry

Aboard the Flying Cloud, a sun-bleached, time-softened rope knot becomes a pearl and diamond bracelet. The golden braid on a captain’s epaulette morphs into a gold and diamond bracelet (above). Sailor’s buttons are elevated to precious jewels and lapis lazuli life buoys trail bubbles of pearls. The tattoo on a sailor’s arm transforms into a chic sapphire and diamond ring. More obvious motifs, such as anchors and compasses, are liberally enriched with a joyous abundance of diamonds.

Flying Cloud Sailor Tattoo ring
I would happily wear Chanel’s Sailor Tattoo ring on my skin. Set with diamonds and sapphires it is part of the Flying Collection of High Jewellery inspired by Mademoiselle Chanel’s love of sailing. Chanel Fine Jewelry

Gabrielle Chanel’s liberty of mind and soul, be it a woman wearing a fisherman’s striped jersey jumper with trousers or mixing a rope of precious pearls with costume jewellery, were expressions of how she most elegantly – and permanently – changed conventions. Likewise, the Flying Cloud jewels transform functional knots, buttons and ropes into exquisite one-off jewels. 

Flying Cloud Endless Knot necklace
The sailor’s knot has never looked so fabulous. Chanel’s Endless Knot necklace from the Flying Cloud collection is set with a 3.51 carat round-cut diamond, two pear-cut diamonds weighing 6.19 carats and 2743 round and rose-cut diamonds. Chanel Fine Jewelry

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