Peach Blossoms and Wheat Ears: Chanel in the Country

I’ve recently written an article for Vogue Italia website on Lady Amanda Harlech. I didn’t know much of her before doing some researches, but when I knew how important she has been for Karl Lagerfeld’s creative process in all the years she has worked at Chanel, I realized how much of her personality is to be found in Chanel collections. When I first saw the advertising campaign for the spring/summer 2010 collection, starring Freja Beha Erichsen, Claudia Schiffer and Baptiste Giabiconi, shot in Buenos Aires by Lagerfeld himself, I totally saw Amanda’s influence in some shots.

I don’t like the collection much (those clogs are one of the most hideous things I’ve ever seen in my life), but I must admit the campaign is brilliant. The shot above totally reminds me of Amanda, whose life is a constant balancing between Paris and her country house in the Shropshire. Freja’s face is wrapped in white tulle, a very fin de siècle touch, while sitting on a hay sheaf.


The shot below is even more romantic than the previous one.

Freja lays her arms around Baptiste in such a sexy embrace. They’re both wearing the traditional Spanish wide-brimmed black hats and their outfits (a black vest for her and a vest+jacket for him) are dominated by the theme of wheat ears, embroidered in gold on their garments. The jewellery Freja is wearing has the same theme.

I immediately fell in love with the haircomb in her hair. As an old-fashioned girl, I have a passion for all things unusual and out of trend, i.e. long leather gloves, silk crocheted gloves, complicated hairstyles with braids and buns. Haircombs remind me of my grand-mother, who wore them for most of her life, so you may understand my excitement when I saw the extraordinary re-working of this old-fashioned hair accessory in something actually gorgeous. This is a double haircomb, decorated by a metal and strass sheath of wheat and a double C.

The same theme characterizes other pieces of the collection, such as this necklace in metal and strass has two wheat ears as decorations, plus tiny strass double Cs hanging from a chain. Isn’t it sublime?

Cuff bracelets are never missing in Chanel jewelry collections: this time, the classic Chanel black cuff bracelet has metallic wheat ears inlaid in resin. Another piece – not related to the theme of wheat ears, but equally interesting – is the Art Nouveau tie necklace with metal and strass chains, perfect for making a simple black dress outstanding.

The spring/summer 2010 fashion show was not interesting because of the clothes – which I didn’t like much – but for the accessories, jewellery and body art seen on the models. One of my favourite backstage pics is this one.

Hannah Holman is using her BlackBerry and we can see her perfect bun (omg, I just love this updo), made even more perfect by a decoration of gold branches and flower blossoms.

The Jewel haircomb included in the collection is very similar to the decorations in the model’s hair: made of metal and and glass pearls, it introduces another theme, the peach blossoming tree. I think it’s simply stunning.

The same peach blossoms can be found as decorations in the metal and glass pearl ring and in the earrings with hand-enameled metal flowers (here some daisies can also be found).

In the last few months, Chanel has also launched the spring/summer 2010 pre-collection, which included some Valentine’s Day-related items.

This set of three enameled metal brooches with glass pearls and rhinestones beautifully reworks some themes of Chanel’s iconography – double Cs, pearls, the nickname of its founder and M.lle Chanel herself, elegantly sitting on a motorbike and wearing her trademark tailleur. The heart-shaped and the double C brooches are pierced by an arrow.

The same symbols decorate the long chain necklace with multiple charms in metal, glass stones and rhinestones.

Coco Chanel’s bust decorated the metal necklace with enameled heart pendant adorned with glass pearls. In this case, she is wearing a black top and a classy strand of pearls. I think the inspiration for this pendant was Coco circa 1937, when she wore a bow headband.

I love these metal chain earrings with enameled double Cs and heart charms with rhinestones. The name COCO is inscribed in the red hearts. It’s just a curiosity, but the font used here is the same on the bottles of the perfume of the same name.

The set of three plexiglas and metal bangles with enameled decorations has the symbols of the pierced hearts and double Cs.

When it comes to the more traditional part of the collection, other Chanel recurring symbols – bows and chains – can be found.

The resin cuff bracelets above are decorated with multiple studs and rhinestones.

The braided multi-chain necklace is made of metal with glass pearls and rhinestones; the chain bracelet is made of aged metal and is interlaced with leather.

The metal chain belt with interlaced leather and double C pendant is an iconic piece in Chanel history, one of my favourite items ever. The theme of the chain is in the resin cuff bracelet, too, which has an inlaid guilloché metal chain.

I’m not a fan of fringed jewelry, but it seems Lagerfeld loves it. Two are the fringed pieces in this collection – a double C brooch with glass pearls and gold metal fringes, and a bib necklace with glass pearls and tiny double Cs decorating the fringes.

Bows are another recurring decorations for Chanel, so it’s no surprise to see some pieces with romantic bows – bow pendant earrings in metal and rhinestones (love them!) and a multi-strand two-tone glass pearl necklace with diamante bow clasp. These are lovely but very reminiscent of the bow brooch and bracelet designed for the Paris-Moscou pre-fall 2008 collection.

What is your favourite piece of these collections? And what are your thoughts about haircombs? Yay or nay?

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4 comments

  1. Having enough hair to stick a haircomb through my bun is probably the only reason I could grow my hair longer 😛
    … and usually I do not heart too much Chanel jewellery, but these wheat-themed adornments are just gorgeous!

    1. I’ve got long hair, as you know, but my problem is the price of this amazing haircomb, which will surely be ridiculous 😦

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