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Chanel Reveals a Sport-Inspired High Jewelry Collection, and Its Most Alluring Gemstones Ever

Numbers rule sport. Which sprinter has the fastest time? What team has the highest score? Who is the gymnast landing a perfect ten? This summer, the world’s eyes turn to Paris, to eagerly watch the scoreboards as countries battle for gold at the Paris Summer Olympics. French high jewelry and couture house Chanel, which sits at the epicenter of Paris’s Place Vendôme, heralds this very athletic season in glittering style. A new high jewelry collection, Haute joallerie sport (Sport High Jewelry) designed by Patrice Leguéreau, Director of the Fine Jewelry Creation Studio, entices women to move their bodies by ensuring that their high jewelry follows suit.

Photo: Courtesy Chanel

Like sportswear, the pieces of this collection are made to mimic the anatomical nature and line of a woman’s form. The novel jewelry is ultra light and can transform to offer true liberty for the lady who has flexed her luck. Spot the sporty chevron motif that pulses with speed and clean contours that remind of a racetrack. Meanwhile the iconic 5 appears in a Chronometer typography. Notably, the Chanel signature is showcased for the first time in a high jewelry creation.

Photo: Courtesy Chanel

Leguéreau expresses that through this new collection, he hopes clients will experience “a feeling of freedom of movement and energy.” Taking inspiration from the sporty style of Chanel, with its elegance of line and clothing that encourage motion, he sought to accentuate the sporty allure so mastered by Gabrielle Chanel. As early as 1921, she created a “sport” atelier within her Haute Couture house, Leguéreau explains. “Combining elegance with performance – through its aesthetic, its technical savoir faire and its rigorous selection of gemstones – this collection celebrates that vibrant energy that defines a woman’s look, the movement,” he says. Functionality and technical savoir-faire come to light with quick-release fittings lent from sports equipment that are transformed into genuine clasps. These are not concealed but rather placed at the centerpiece of the jewelry. To wit: a karabiner is redesigned in the shape of the number 5, while a swivel clasp is borrowed from the 2.55 bag along with buckles and loops.

Photo: Courtesy Chanel

Observe the Chanel quilted motif, which is here displayed in the style of openwork high-performance fabrics. It too, is now a supple mesh and decorated with sporty signatures. Meanwhile, a tube chain is now a “sport cord.” In this collection, underscored with French audace, both precious and high-tech materials like carbon fiber marry low density with high resistance, to make for an ultra-lightweight sport cuff. Meanwhile aluminum, known to be light and resistant, rocks with new colors. Lacquer guides the color palette to showcase shades that marry those of the precious stones.

Photo: Courtesy Chanel

Gemstones play a central role. Leguéreau refers to the sapphires in particular as simply, “The finest ensemble of stones ever presented by Chanel.” He explains that the moment he discovered the set of Kashmir sapphires, he recognized that they were “incomparable, inestimable, and an extremely rare ensemble of collectors’ sapphires, showcased in high jewelry.” To ensure a harmonious ensemble, meeting the highest standards of quality, years were dedicated to the search of each stone. “It is an ensemble that we have created from scratch, one step after another, as always at Chanel, where creation lies at the heart of everything we do. They perfectly ‘embody’ my vision of color.” The shades bring forth added dynamo. Two-tone and three-tone contrasts enhance the colored stones, and their silhouettes underscore the ergonomic aesthetic of the collection.

chanel high jewelry

Patrice Leguéreau. Photo: Courtesy Chanel

For this high jewelry, a very advanced savoir faire is used to develop new shapes, and new functions without losing the elegance and the use of unusual materials in high jewelry like carbon and aluminum. “I wanted to create a carbon ‘fabric’ covering the whole of the outer surface seamlessly. However, the conventional techniques used on this type of material, such as machining, were unable to achieve the desired result,” he explains. “The carbon was therefore molded, which represented a great number of complexities. The second challenge with this material was the laser engraving to represent the lacy motif of the lettering on the whole of the exterior surface, without distorting the letters,” he continues. The creative impresses that the features were designed, proportioned, and integrated with precision to sit perfectly on a woman’s body as she moves. “It was for example, the case with the mousqueton clasp in the shape of the number 5,” he offers with a swash of bravura. “Everything starts from the sketch, the idea. And then the challenges come! Fortunately, nothing sounds impossible to serve the creation. That’s the fantastic feeling I have had since my arrival at the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio.”

The designer, who started his career at Cartier and later spent a decade at Van Cleef et Arpels is something of a man on the move. “Sport has always been part of my life. Especially skiing and running. I love to do marathons. Running helps me clear my mind and gives me the feeling of freedom, which is essential when you create,” he shares. At Chanel, he appears to have found his pace, having now been with the house for 15 years. It is at the famed Ecole Boulle where he specialized in the Métiers d’art of modeled engraving, and he also studied at the Institut National de Gemmologie. Designing all the Chanel Fine and High Jewelry collections, he transforms in spectacular new ways such beloved codes as the comet, feather, camelia, wheatsheaf, quilting, and pearls. He introduced the lion, Mademoiselle Chanel’s “Leo” star sign into the high jewelry vault of style along with collections dedicated to the perfume No 5 and the tweed fabric. He also manifests its precious objects, including the Academician Sword for American conductor William Christie, among other special commissions. Now, Leguéreau wields, once again, his artistic prowess. Like an athlete, he has pushed the boundaries of what is possible. Using technical brilliance, precision, and artistry, he has created a narrative that incites excitement and wonder.

Photo: Courtesy Chanel

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