It Reveals a Certain Secret, Which Pleases Me and Thoughtful People

Dieses Baums Blatt, der von Osten
Meinem Garten anvertraut,
Gibt geheimen Sinn zu kosten,
Wie’s den Wissenden erbaut.

Ist es Ein lebendig Wesen,
Das sich in sich selbst getrennt?
Sind es zwei, die sich erlesen,
Dass man sie als eines kennt.

Solche Frage zu erwidern,
Fand ich wohl den rechten Sinn.
Fühlst du nicht in meinen Liedern,
Dass ich Eins und doppelt bin.

Ginkgo Biloba by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1815) [1]

While I was writing about Chanel Spring/Summer 2011 costume jewellery pre-collection, my mind was actually on the Spring/Summer collection of the same season for many reasons: first of all, because many pieces are outstanding and have literally stolen my heart; secondly, because they are the perfect complements for one of Lagerfeld’s best collections [2]; thirdly, because this time I’d really like to own some of them, and it rarely happens that I want something so badly.

The general vibe of the jewellery clearly mirrors the references, tailoring techniques and materials used in the clothing collection, yet it holds a strong connection to some recurring motifs, which are part of Chanel’s tradition. In a world of fashion where the news about John Galliano’s dismissal from Dior and about Christophe Decarnin’s mysterious departure from Balmain have exploded like a bomb, Karl Lagerfeld’s approach looks like a safe place to me, something that can never ever let you down: it always provides an original look to the future, but at the same time perpetuates the myth of the maison’s founder.

Let’s start looking at the pieces I’ve selected. The first one is a chain necklace embellished with knit braiding. I love the shape and the size of the necklace (I’m a sucker for statement collar necklaces), and I also like its unmade-handmade mood, contrasting with the polished look of the two-toned chain.

Awww, I love the pieces above! Both the necklace and the bracelet are made of gold and black multi-metal chain. Pairing black to gold is a brilliant idea, but it’s not particularly original, since it has been featured in many other pieces of costume jewellery, not to mention the sleek cases of Chanel cosmetics – I’m thinking of Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer lip glosses – and perfumes – the spray bottle of Chanel n°5. What I’ve focused my attention on is the look of the chains: doesn’t it remind you of those thin metal bracelets seen on teenagers some years ago?

Long multi-strand necklace cannot be missing in Chanel jewelry collection: this time, we are given a gold metal chain necklace, embellished with glass and fresh water pearls, and a version in burnished metal, embellished with glass black and pink pearls, a double C charm and a strass baroque medallion.

The pieces above introduce my favourite motif of the collection, inspired to the beautiful fan-shaped leaves of ginkgo biloba, a tree which can be typically found in Far Eastern countries. Metal hand-enameled ginkgo leaves embellish the black resin cuff and the cute pendant earrings.

This is probably my favourite piece of the collection – an amazing necklace embellished with metal hand-enameled ginkgo leaves. The version worn by the model on the catwalk looks different, a little bit busier than the regular necklace, and it’s even more impressive. I like it so much because the design is delicate and romantic; it doesn’t overshadows the outfits, yet it emphasizes its elegance.

Talking of statement pieces, this shoulder necklace with hand-enameled iridescent metal leaves is a show-stopper indeed. I still have mixed feelings when it comes to it, because it looks like a carpet of leaves, ready to gape and swallow its wearer.

On the contrary, something I would wear without any second thoughts is this red enameled metal cuff, embellished with glass pearls, strass and an enameled central medallion. You know I’ve got a passion for cuff bracelets: owning this one would be a dream come true.

Talking of beautiful cuff bracelets, here come other pieces: they’re all made of resin, inlaid with multicolor strass. The bracelets are adorable, but what has struck me most are the lattice perforated leather fingerless gloves seen on the model, gorgeous!

This resin cuff is so cute: it’s inlaid with dragonflies and butterflies metal charms. I wish the collection included more pieces with the same theme, but hopefully it’ll be developed in collections to come.

Braided chains of burnished metal are featured in this unique necklace, embellished with aged turquoise medallions; the version with black pearls was seen on the catwalk on Lily Donaldson. The shape reminds me of Native American breast plates, a reference that is not further developed in the collection. The necklace is matched by a Malta-cross  brooch embellished with glass pearls and strass.

What do you think of these pieces? Is there one that you prefer over the others?

[1] Lagerfeld is a very educated man, so I’m sure he knows that ginko biloba leaves inspired the most important German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who wrote a poem about them. He took two leaves from a ginkgo tree in the garden of Heidelberg Castle and pasted them on the poem he sent to Marianne Von Willemer, a friend of his, in September 1815.

[2] It’s not coincidental that the collection was inspired by L’année dernière à Marienbad (1961) by Alain Resnais, one of the most figuratively impressive movies I’ve ever watched. If you love movie costume design trivia, you may remember Coco Chanel designed the outfits worn by the female protagonist of the film, Delphine Seyrig.

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17 comments

  1. You’re right, the S/S collection is fabulous, and I love the Italian-style gardens in the background, similar to those seen in Last Year in Marienbad ( I love that film and its aestethics, and of course, the Chanel costumes!)
    My favourite piece is the black resin cuff with the dragonflies. I much prefer these jewels to the ones with the lion you wrote about a while ago: I always meant to tell you that I saw them for real in Selfridges, and they actually look better in photographs- quite disappointing!

    1. The concept behind the collection and the setting of the fashion show were incredibly chic and refined, but with a Lagerfeld twist. He’s not my favourite designer, but it’s incredible to see the million ideas coming out of his creative mind, paying homage to the past of Chanel without losing sight of the future.

      The resin cuff with the dragonflies is adorable, I like it a lot. Well, I’m glad the lion jewellery from the spring/summer 2011 pre-collection doesn’t look good in real life, either. The whole concept behind that collection was a bit fussy and I think this comes out in the final result. Disappointing indeed.

  2. I love that red cuff bracelet. I think it’s the best piece.
    I love the way it matches with the red and white jacket.

      1. 🙂 ed io ho pensato a i bracciali con inclusioni di Vuitton e quando ne parlavamo tempo fa:)sai che quel bracciale in resina lo porto praticamente sempre?è diventato il mio portafortuna:)

      2. Sì, mi erano venuti in mente proprio quelli!

        Che bello sapere che è diventato il tuo portafortuna. Ora però devi prenderne uno di Chanel: non sono meravigliosi?

  3. That dragonfly and butterfly cuff is gorgeous. By funny coincidence, I am wearing a butterfly decorated waistcoat even as I type this!

    Agree about that metal leaves shoulder necklace, though: it looks a bit like the sort of thing you might find growing in between two damp rocks. I think it’s safe to say that “fungal” will not be one of my looks for S/S 2011.

    1. You’re right: that dragonfly and butterfly cuff is possibly one of the best pieces of the collection.

      Omg, “fungal” is an excellent adjective to describe the vibe of that necklace. One can never say never when it comes to weird trends, but I’m pretty sure this will never become one (I hope so).

    1. I think you should contact Chanel customer service. They will surely tell you where these pieces are available for sale. Good luck!

  4. Any idea where I can still buy this piece?

    Spring/Summer 2011 Chanel:

    This resin cuff is so cute: it’s inlaid with dragonflies and butterflies metal charms. I wish the collection included more pieces with the same theme, but hopefully it’ll be developed in collections to come.

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