One of the recurring topics I like writing about is Chanel costume jewellery. I love costume jewellery, and Chanel’s in particular, because sometimes it’s even better than fine jewellery. Gabrielle Chanel mixed real and fake jewels, and Karl Lagerfeld followed her steps, creating collections where the line between costume and fine is getting thinner and thinner (just think of the Pieces d’Exception, included in the latest collections).
The fall/winter 2009 collection is mainly inspired to one of Chanel’s timeless symbols, the camellia. This flower appealed to Gabrielle’s taste of provocation due to its reference as the forbidden flower, androgynous and ambiguous. The designer loved this flower for its almost geometircal roundness and the regular perfection of its white petals. The camellia soon became her favourite symbol and is still one of the most recognizable emblems, along with the double C.
Mother-of-pearl camellias are the leit motif of this collection, along with other symbols of the Parisian maison (double C, chains, pearls and coins).
The sautoir necklace is made of pearl multi-strands and has a rhinestone and enamel heart-shaped pendant; the camellia-shaped brooch is made of mother-of-pearl-like metal and has a tiny double C on one petal.
Isn’t the mother-of-pearl effect of these metal earrings amazing? The earrings have double C posts with pearls. The sautoir necklace is made of three strands of glass pearls, with double C decorations and a big camellia.
The long necklace is all made of metal and has tiny, rhinestone-studded double Cs as decorations. Double Cs literally create the ring of metal and rhinestones.
These pearl earrings are such a classic piece of Chanel costume jewellery! The posts are made of metal (with a quilted effect). The same effect can be found in the metal ring on the right.
Cuff bracelets were among Coco’s favourite jewels, and for this reason they cannot be missing in costume jewellery collections. The massive black resin cuff bracelet has a double C in rhinestones, while the other bracelet is thinner and covered with tweed fabric.
Coins and medals often recur as decorations: the antique metal necklace has coins with Chanel’s silhouette engraved on them, while the charm bracelet has coins with the double C on them.
The fall/winter 2009 collection has got a completely different vibe: gone are the camellias, because the focus is on an amazing revival of Art-Deco shapes and materials. I really love this collection, because it’s one of the most original I’ve ever seen. Most of the traditional symbols are still here – chains, pearls, double C – but new sources of inspiration have been introduced as well.
These two pieces are classic in their beauty: the long necklace with black and white glass pearls has a rhinestone wing-shaped decoration, the same that can be found in the big brooch. It’s gorgeous how the wing is interlocked with a double C.
Chains and glass pearls distinguish the statement ring on the left. They can also be found in the dangling earrings, along with double C hanging from the chains.
Here come the most interesting part of the collection: both earrings and brooch have the same decoration, a sun cross made of metal, glass, resin and a central pearl. Just a few words about the shape, which can often be found in Chanel collections: the sun cross is a common symbol in European Prehistoric artefacts and usually symbolizes the union of opposed polarities, a Western version of the Eastern ying-yang symbol. It would be extremely interesting to know why Gabrielle included this among her symbols .
I wonder why this plastron necklace (made of resin, glass and rhinestones) has not been included in the Pieces d’Exception collection. It’s absolutely amazing with its clean and graphic lines, so reminiscent of Art-Deco jewellery. Glass and black resin can be also found in the ring on the right.
Rachel Bilson has been the first celebrity to sport one of these beautiful creations on the red carpet: she wore the plastron necklace (in black and red), along with Chanel sandals, blouse and ribbon clutch, at the Coco before Chanel premiere in New York, on 15th September, 2009.
The jewellery seen on the fall/winter 2009 runway is – if possible – even more stunning than what we’ve seen so far. Round shapes and pastel shades distinguish most of the pieces, such as the circle necklace on the left and the one on the right, with a semi-circular decoration. I also love the silver faux eyelashes seen on the models, applied on the lower lid only (maybe this is a homage to A Clockwork Orange‘s Alex DeLarge, who applied faux eyelashes on one eye only).
The large nuckle rings are to die for. I love the jade and pastel rose glass and resin pearls and the original way in which they are stacked up. The ribbon clutch bag on the right is the same Rachel Bilson was carrying in the pic above.
Knuckle rings and a belt with a sun cross buckle are such a heavenly match. The same combination, in black, white and pale pink, can be found in the second picture. The belt buckle, in this case, has a square shape, divided into four sections.
The trademark shades of the collection – jade and pale pink – and the circle can be found in shoes as well. I don’t like walking on high-heeled shoes so I would be extremely frightened if I had to walk in these shoes. The heel seems so unstable.
Speaking of jade and pale rose, I cannot leave out the latest, coveted and much hyped nail polish collection. Jade and Jade Rose are the names given to the colours above : the first is a shimmering mint with blue undertones (not as pale as seen on the runway), while the second is a dusty rose pink with subtler shimmering. At the moment the collection is for sale in the U.S., not in Europe yet, where it will be sold in October. I’ve been saving for buying the Jade nailpolish, so I cannot wait laying my hands on it. In the meantime, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hope this colour won’t instantly become sold out.
 A lot has been written and said about a possible role of Chanel as a Nazi spy during the II World War. I don’t know if she actually acted against her own country, but isn’t it coincidental that the sun cross was the symbol of the Norwegian Nazi party from 1933 until 1945 and that the same sun cross is the symbol of several white nationalist and Neo-Nazi groups (in this case, the sun cross symbolizes the white race)?
 Here you can read a review and see swatches.