Even Better than the Real Thing

When I say ‘Coco Chanel’, what is the first image that comes to your mind? A camellia or a clover? Black and white or a bow? The infamous double Cs or quilted leather? Chains or pearls? The first thing that comes to my mind is related to the real and faux jewellery Mademoiselle Coco wore all through her life. Costume jewellery has always striked my attention because I think a simple strand of pearls, a chain belt or big earrings can completely change the mood of any outfit. Coco perfectly knew the revolutionary and democratic [1] aspect of costume jewellery, and her lesson has been taken up by Karl Lagerfeld, who has brilliantly worked on the main themes of the maison.  The result of this effort are lovely jewellery collections, where pieces are small reminders of a flawless style.

Let’s talk about the fall/winter 2008 collection, for example:  the clothes were accessorized with small pieces of jewellery (a brooch on a beret or on a shirt, a glittery hair-band), which gave a touch of refinement to each outfit.  What we saw in the fashion show is just part of the f/w 2008 costume jewellery collection, an array of pieces inspired by the massive carousel (a merry-go-round) on the catwalk.

The merry-go-round becomes a cute pendant for a long pearl necklace and a multi-chain belt. Other charms (a small pump shoe,  a double ‘c’ with pearls) decorate these pieces.

Some earrings of the collection refer to well-known Chanel symbols: the earrings on the left have enamel camellias, double ‘c’s and gold clovers, while the ones on the right have drop pearls and diamante double ‘c’s.

The models walked the catwalk wearing lots of brooches, and here are some in the collection: two of them are inspired by the Malta cross and the Byzanthine style Mademoiselle Coco loved so much – these are made of semi-precious stones, rhinestones and pearls – and the others are double ‘c’s with rhinestones and with some Chanel symbols.

Bracelets can be found in the collection in several shapes: the rounded cuff is distinguished by a double ‘c’ of rhinestones, and the bracelet is made of pearls and stones, with a cross at the centre.

The spring/summer 2009 fashion show was all about big necklaces, some of them even took the shape of plastrons. The first on the top left, for example, is an outstanding piece adorned with multiple plexiglass cabochon stones; the first on the bottom left, on the other hand, is like a flower chain, where the single elements are metal and enamel flowers. Several cuffs with cabochon stones were seen on the wrists of the models, as well as another interesting necklace made of stones.

The necklace on the right is a deco bib necklace of agathe and natural stones (it reminds me of Primitive jewellery), and the one on the left is a braided metal chain necklace (recently worn by Mischa Barton; to me it’s like an echo of the Paris/London collection).

All the bracelets have a cuff shape: the first two show the theme of the cabochon stones (in white and in black), while the third works on the theme of inlaid chains.

Earrings are simple in shape and all work on the theme of double ‘c’s:  these iconic letters sparkle with rhinestones and pearls; they are completed by dangling chains in the chandelier earrings or are inlaid with chains in the white and gold stud earrings.

[1] Costume jewellery is democratic because it’s usually cheap (oh well, Chanel costume jewellery is expensive indeed, but it’s cheaper than fine jewellery), so any woman can afford it.

Source and source.

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12 comments

  1. Leggendo la biografia di Chanel ho scoperto che, in realtà, le perle che Coco indossava, erano vere…ma che indossandole a più e più fili, spesso anche esagerando (chiarmente di proposito!) voleva far credere che si trattasse appunto ‘bijouterie’, o costume jewellery.

  2. Io penso che mescolasse abilmente vero e falso, visto che i primi pezzi con croci di Malta erano decorati da pasta di vetro. Solo in seguito vennero le collaborazioni con Fulco di Verdura e tutti gli straordinari pezzi delle collezioni di fine jewellery (le collane di diamanti con stelle comete, fontane, nappine e via dicendo). Certo è che solo un genio poteva permettersi di dimostrarsi così sprezzante nei confronti della moda che vigeva allora, imponendo alla lunga la propria visione.

  3. le collane e i bracciali a forma di stelle comete, mi avevano stregato tempo fa e li avevo postati sul mio blog… troppo belli, secondo me senza tempo.

    1. Il Collier Comète del 1932 è una vera e propria opera d’arte e lo stesso vale per il collier di diamanti con fiocco dello stesso anno, e per mille altre creazioni. Fortunatamente gli input di Mademoiselle non sono stati annacquati nel corso degli anni, anzi, hanno trovato nuova linfa vitale in collezioni sempre più preziose ed originali.

  4. long time reading, first time writing!
    congratulazioni per il cambiamento, sia grafico che di lingua, e per questi ultimi due post da sogno…
    io sono un’amante della bigiotteria anni ’70 che “stacca” dal mio solito look (almost) total black, e dei gioielli che ho comprato durante i miei soggiorni tra sudafrica e mozambico (non diamanti eh!)
    …ma questi qui…forse potrei chiedere al mio fidanzato se magari volesse farmi un regalino…

    ciao superqueen
    until next time!

    roberta

  5. My absolutely favourite piece is the black ‘cabochon’ stone necklace- it’s so so so beautiful!!! Shame it wouldn’t stand out on my clothes- most of them are black.

    1. I love that necklace, it’s so peculiar in shape and material. I also like the flower necklace, but maybe because it reminds me of the stunning floreal pieces of Dior jewellery designed by Victoire de Castellane.

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