Chanel unveils new Tweed high jewellery collection in London


French fashion and jewellery house Chanel has revealed its latest high jewellery collection — Tweed — at London’s Royal Horticultural Halls. A departure for the brand which, like most luxury jewellery houses, traditionally releases its new high jewellery collection during Couture Fashion Week in Paris, the new collection takes its inspiration from Chanel’s signature fabric and the eponymous founder’s ties to the UK.

Designed by Patrice Leguéreau, director of the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio, the new collection represents the second chapter in the Tweed de Chanel high jewellery line, with the first introduced in 2020. “Ever since I joined Chanel in 2009, I have been fascinated by tweed,” says Leguéreau. “One of the first people I met was [French embroiderer] François Lesage, and I remember him showing me his archives of embroidery and tweed. I was immediately drawn to this material and its history. I had squares of tweed woven specially so that I could examine the fabric close up and draw my inspiration from it for the second collection.”

Named for the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders, tweed became a signature of Coco Chanel’s clothing collections during the 1920s, when her affair with the Duke of Westminster saw her exposed to the British aristocracy and its longstanding traditions of country life. Accordingly, the new 63-piece collection weaves in references to this time in Chanel’s life alongside iconic emblems of the house, including the camellia, comet, ribbon, sun and lion.

Organised into five chapters around these symbols, across the collection sapphires, diamonds, beryls and other precious stones are combined with white, yellow and rose gold to create intricate designs immediately evocative of their inspiration. The Tweed Solaire ring, for example, nestles fiery orange and yellow topaz and beryls among yellow gold and diamonds for a sunshine-hued piece that immediately recalls the texture of tweed.

Elsewhere, the Tweed Céleste necklace combines yellow diamonds, sapphires and onyx in a palette taken straight from a stary night sky while the Tweed Pétale earrings recreate the movement and fluidity of tweed in a camellia-inspired selection of diamonds, pink sapphires and rose gold.

The centrepiece of the collection is the Tweed Royal necklace: an absolute showstopper of a design which forms parts of the Tweed Lion chapter. Formed using a woven golden chain set with 37 rubies, the plastron necklace features a clever transformable design which allows for a central diamond-encrusted lion head to be removed and worn as a brooch, while a stunning 10.17 carat D Flawless pear-cut white diamond can also be detached and worn as a ring.

“You can’t imagine the ingenuity and inventiveness deployed by the craftspeople in our workshops in reproducing the flexibility and fluidity of the fabric using metal and precious stones,” says Leguéreau. “That said, however, I was very determined that the technical prowess employed in the making of these pieces should take second place to their beauty and uniqueness. It was absolutely imperative that the jewellery should be light and comfortable to wear, as if you are being draped with a piece of fabric.”

The release of the Tweed high jewellery collection in London also coincides with the launch of the V&A’s Chanel retrospective — Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto — which opens in September 2023, with tickets available to purchase from 7 June 2023. The first UK retrospective of the influential designer’s work, the exhibition will examine Chanel’s influence on the worlds of jewellery and beauty as well as her long-lasting impact on the fashion industry.

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