30 January 2013
Gabrielle Chanel's Bijoux de Diamants exhibition of 1932, held in Paris, is brought to life in a new video created by the famous French couture house. Perfectly timed - the house's 1932 collection of jewels launched in 2012 to celebrate the 80th anniversary of this seminal event - it puts into context the significance of Gabrielle Chanel's proposal for the world's most precious stone, and how she rattled the established male-dominated world of jewellery.
The video explores the inspiration behind the original jewels and the link between Mademoiselle Chanel's approach to fashion and jewels. Like her revolutionary use of fabrics and defiance of convention, Chanel reinvented jewels for a new woman - one who was free to wear her jewels with the same ease as a ribbon in her hair or a soft, caressing silk scarf.
Watching the video you can see how today's designers at Chanel were inspired by the original 1932 collection, creating 80 diamond jewels echoing the themes of the original collection. The motifs dear to Mademoiselle Chanel and present throughout her work include stars, comets, suns, fringes, ribbons and feathers as well as Leo, the lion, her star sign. Chanel loved to wear her jewellery with as much liberty as her clothes. She often wore several pieces stacked up and was known to mix real gems with costume jewels. Always experimenting, her 1932 diamond collection could be worn in the hair or draped across a shoulder, and diamonds appeared to float over the finger, as if by magic, in 'open' rings. Read more about the 1932 exhibition here.
Like Chanel's original 1932 jewels, these reinterpretations are easy to wear, with no clasps or fastenings. They move with the same ease as her couture creations. Take the 'Comètes' necklace, one of the stars of the collection, with its impressive diamond. Despite its value, it sits lightly on the skin, the structure so well articulated that it can be worn with absolute comfort: an impressive achievement.