Ribbons and Lace, the 'Coco Avant Chanel' Haute Joaillerie Collection

  Gabrielle Chanel and friends in front of her Deauville boutique, with Boy Capel on her right, 1913.

Gabrielle Chanel and friends in front of her Deauville boutique, with Boy Capel on her right, 1913.

 

 

While living with Edward “Boy” Capel, the love of her life, Gabrielle Chanel started designing hats initially as a hobby before becoming a licensed milliner in 1910 and opening her first boutique in Paris, named Chanel Modes. She was  30 years old and with clients like theater actress Gabrielle Dorziat wearing her creations business flourished and three years later she opened a second boutique in Deauville, where she also started to sell clothes in what would become her signature style.

It is these early years, beforeshe set up her couture house in 1919, thatChanel is celebrating through its latest haute joaillerie collection, Coco Avant Chanel, with pieces that referenceribbons, lace, pearls and camellias. The eleven sets are named after some of herfirst elegant clients, such as Garbielle Dorziat and Jeanne Dirys, another famous theater actress, as well as women who influenced Chanel’s life, such as her sister Antoinette or her friend and milliner Lucienne Rabaté.

Recalling the designer’s scissor cuts, lace-effects are rendered in asymmetrical designs, while ribbons of diamonds or pearls are loosely draped or knotted around the neck, their edges sometimes sharp and at other times frayed with diamonds.

Camellias (her favorite flowers, which would become ones of her signatures) appear discretly along with birds.