Smooth sailing: Chanel navigates a new era of high jewellery design

Smooth sailing: Chanel navigates a new era of high jewellery design

From anchors and lifebuoys to sailor tattoos, the jaunty seafaring theme steering Chanel’s ‘Flying Cloud’ high jewellery collection might easily have tipped into the realm of whimsy. But it takes its name from a 1930s superyacht owned by the second Duke of Westminster and frequented by Coco Chanel during holidays on the Riviera.

That led to hardier, nautical rope references, as these bold, white gold, diamond and deep-blue sapphire knot earrings attest. References to seaworthy lengths – those rough, lifesaving twists of rope – that would have been handled by the Flying Cloud’s 40-man crew, are scattered throughout the collection. In much the same way, Chanel has made the softest lambskin look like seamans’ oils in its current Cruise collection.

So where better than to display the entire Flying Cloud collection this summer than Chanel’s original South of France bolthole, La Pausa (‘the pause’), in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin? Coco Chanel designed the house, which was built by 1930, as a base for her summer vacations. Having recently been acquired by the house of Chanel, it is due for extensive renovation and an interiors overhaul by Peter Marino.

La Pausa’s atmosphere of bygone sparkling summers is still potent, hence Chanel has crafted earrings, cuffs and voluminous swirls of diamond rope with an altogether fresher feel than is usual in high jewellery design. We’re most definitely on board.

A version of this article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*223)

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