This was Venice, the Flattering and Suspect Beauty

Karl Lagerfeld must have read and loved one of the most famous tales by the German author Thomas Mann, Death in Venice [1] (the original title is Der Tod in Venedig, first published in 1912), because Chanel Resort 2010 collection heavily pays homage to the decadent and romantic atmosphere of Mann’s tale. The history of the French maison is of course another source of reference, because Coco Chanel first came to Venice in 1919 (when she fell in love with Igor Stravinskij) and returned there for ten years.

The costume jewellery collection is based on many recurring themes – pearls, Breton stripes, double Cs – which are re-interpreted in a fresh yet classic way. The most notable pieces are cuff bracelets, reminiscent of the infamous cuffs designed by Fulco Santostefano della Cerda, Duke of Verdura, which Chanel wore on both wrists.

The cuff bracelet above has a base of black plexi and is decorated by a baroque-inspired metal plaque, pearls and rhinestones. The same decoration can be found in the brooch, which also has an oval pearl pendant.


A single baroque pearl decorates the ring on the left, while a double C on metal, enamel and rhinestones distinguishes the ring on the right.

The star is another recurring theme in Chanel costume jewellery collections: both these pieces have stars set in rhinestones as decorations. The brooch has a central enamel element with a double C, and is surrounded by glass-stones and rhinestones; the resin cuff has the same rhinestone star, minus the central double C.

These are among my favourite pieces. I love the Coco Chanel sculpted figurine in enamel metal, wearing black trousers and her trademark Breton striped t-shirt, so funny and cute. The long necklace has three strands of black and white pearls, while the key ring has three chains, with a pearl, an enamel double C and Chanel figurine hanging from them.

I don’t like the naval-inspired decorations on the striped resin cuff very much; I prefer the second cuff bracelet, which is striped as well, and is inlaid with a metal Chanel logo. These are probably the most cheap-looking pieces of the collection, because the recurring double Cs are a bit boring.

Last May the collection was presented on the Lido in Venice, with the luxurious Excelsior Hotel in the background. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Venice Lido in autumn or spring, but I can assure you it’s a unique experience. Tourists and vacationers are gone, so you can fully enjoy the solitary beach and the decadent atmosphere of a magical place. I think the idea to set the fashion show on the beach was a master genius, because that is one of the most fascinating places of Venice.

Models walked a boardwalk on the beach and guests reclined on sunbeds, while the sun was setting. The collection was full of complex references to Venice and its timeless culture – the Carnival, the Bizantine art, the architectural treasures of the city – and some gorgeous costume jewellery – not included in the regular collection – were shown as well. I absolutely love the striped sweaters and shorts seen on Milana Keller and Jourdan Dunn, who were wearing a lot of striped bracelets around their wrists; Dunn also wore a pearl belt. I am struck by the striped hatbox [2] she was carrying, so chic!

Edita Vilkeviciute and Kim Noorda wore magnificent double-strand collier necklaces, decorated by semi-precious stones and diamantè.

Han Jin, Madisyn Ritland, Inguna Butane and Anouck Lepère all wore similar bib necklaces with cabochon stones in resin, metal and strass. They remind me of the Chanel Bizantine-inspired jewels manufactured by Gripoix.

I must admit I’m not a die-hard fan of this collection, but I wouldn’t mind wearing a couple of cuff bracelets all the time, like Chanel did with her gorgeous Verdura cuffs. What are your opinions about this Resort 2010 collection?

[1] The great Italian director Luchino Visconti directed the movie Death in Venice in 1971, starring Dirk Bogarde and Björn Andrésen. The collection pays homage to the movie, too, especially in the sailor outfits seen on male and female models (the young protagonist of the movie, Tadzio, always wears a sailor top).

[2] I think hatboxes have an irresistible charm, maybe because I relate them to two of my favourite movies, Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) by Susan Seidelman, starring Madonna and Patricia Arquette, and Crazy in Alabama (1999) by Antonio Banderas, starring Melanie Griffith.

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11 comments

    1. Me neither, in the sense that I’m not a jewellery fan, but I think Chanel (both costume and fine) jewellery is really special.

    1. Hi!
      I wish I were in NY! No, I’m not American, but Italian, and I live in the North-East.
      I love Hansel and Gretel, though, so I’m sure it’ll be an amazing event. Have fun!

  1. I agree with you, the Coco Chanel figurine is very cute.

    Since I was a teenager I appreciated the classic long CC pearls and metal chains necklace. Unfortunately, I’ve never got anyone.
    They are so expensive. Too much.

  2. Ciqao Superqueen, ti ricordi di me? sono Ombraserena di Splinder. ti scrivo solo per segnalarti un libro appena uscito nelle librerie: “Il cacciatore di Birkin”. Lo sto leggendo d’un fiato, e mi appassiona moltissimo: è la storia di un uomo che per puro caso ha scoperto come si vende facilmente su E-bay, e dal niente ha inventato un businnes che gli ha reso benissimo per molti anni: andava in giro per l’Europa e perfino in altri continenti, a cercare roba di Hermés nei vari negozi e nei loro magazzini, comprava l’invenduto di stagioni passate e lo piazzava su E-bay, dove collezionisti di mezzo mondo lo ricompravano a prezzo molto più alto…. e alla fine ha trovato il modo di farsi dare le Birkin saltando la mitica lista di due anni… non dico altro, se non consigliarti la lettura di questo sorprendente libretto! è stupefacente il desiderio che c’è ancora sulla Birkin, ormai prodotta da 25 anni! Cari saluti da Ombraserena.

  3. volevo dire ancora una cosa…. questo lavoro, per quanto sembri sorprendente, esisteva già ai tempi di Lucrezia Borgia (lo racconta Maria Bellonci) che, non potendosi muovere da Ferrara, mandava in giro dei suoi incaricati che andassero a cercare cose belle per lei, anche a Venezia dove arrivavano le navi cariche dei tesori dell’Oriente… i suoi compratori facevano, in sostanza, lo stesso lavoro di questo ragazzo che girava per le boutiques di Hermés per conto di ricche signore americane che non avevano tempo e voglia di venire in Europa per fare acquisti……… f.to Ombraserena.

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