Chanel brings tweed-inspired high jewellery collection to Singapore for the first time
The French fashion house has interpreted its signature fabric into a collection of masterful high jewellery creations. The Tweed de Chanel collection is now in Singapore for the first time, available for public viewing from Feb 27 to Mar 17.
In the fashion world, there are certain icons that have withstood the test of time and trends. Decades after its creation in the 1920s, Chanel’s iconic tweed jackets have undoubtedly remained one of the house’s most elegant and coveted pieces.
There’s a romantic tale behind the birth of the Chanel tweed. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel met her lover, the dashing Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, in the early 1920s. In that era, tweed, primarily manufactured in Scottish mills, was traditionally worn by men, including the Duke himself for sporting activities such as hunting and fishing.
Gabrielle Chanel reportedly wore her lover’s clothes on occasion, and found them to be more comfortable than traditional womenswear of the time, when ladies often dressed in restrictive, form-fitting clothes.
The pioneering designer then decided to introduce tweed into womenswear, incorporating new colours, materials and textures to the fabric to make it lighter, softer and more appealing. Eventually, the tweed jacket became the most recognisable Chanel garment ever produced.
It was the intricate and supple material of tweed that inspired Chanel’s 2020 high jewellery collection, aptly named Tweed de Chanel. The entire collection, featuring 45 exceptional pieces, was conceived to express the distinctive characteristics of tweed – its intricate interwoven structure, depth and richness of the material, and its lightness.
Tweed de Chanel is the first high jewellery collection from the luxury house devoted to the fabric. In the past, Chanel’s collections were mainly focused on figurative icons of personal importance to its founder, such as the lion, representing her horoscope; the comet, a tribute to her fascination with the stars; and the camellia, the floral emblem of the house.
To craft the pieces, Chanel’s artisans delicately layered and intertwined diamonds, tsavorites, pearls, sapphires and more, creating a resplendent selection of highly-textured necklaces, earrings, cuffs, brooches, rings and more.
“This collection opens the way to a new theme. For the first time, my starting point was a fabric that Mademoiselle Chanel adored. I wanted to create tweed by using the precious materials of high jewellery, which has never been done before,” said Patrice Leguereau, designer of the collection and director of the Chanel Fine Jewelry Creation Studio.
"For the first time, my starting point was a fabric that Mademoiselle Chanel adored. I wanted to create tweed by using the precious materials of high jewellery, which has never been done before." – Patrice Leguereau
NOW IN SINGAPORE
The collection has made its way to Singapore for the first time, marking its Southeast Asian debut. At a private event held from Feb 23 to Feb 25 at Raffles Singapore, a group of VIP clients were given a preview of the collection.
From Feb 27 to Mar 17, the collection will be available for public viewing at the Chanel Watches & Fine Jewellery boutique in Ngee Ann City.
Highlights of the showcase include the Tweed d’Ete necklace, which combines the characteristics of the fabric in a sautoir (long necklace). At almost S$2.7 million, the Tweed d'Ete is the most expensive necklace in the exhibition.
Like a supple weave, white and yellow gold intertwine with white and yellow diamonds of multiple shapes and sizes. The twisted rope chains that feature on the necklace are a nod to Gabrielle Chanel’s love for the seafaring lifestyle. The designer and the Duke of Westminster were known for embarking on romantic cruises together. The necklace is also set with a 7.1-carat cushion-cut yellow diamond.
The Tweed d’Or necklace is reminiscent of Chanel’s haute couture gowns of the 1960s, inspired by the shimmering yellow gold lame fabric used in the creations. The necklace recalls the neckline of the tweed jacket, set with a massive 20.4-carat oval-cut orange topaz. Worth over S$1 million, the necklace is the second most expensive necklace in the showcase.
To wear the necklace, one need only unfasten the piece through the centre stone. This is a nod to the way Gabrielle Chanel empowered women through her designs. In the past, women needed the help of others – their partners or their handmaids – to put on jewellery. But Chanel designed her jewellery in such a way that women could easily put them on themselves.
The Tweed Couture bracelet is another stand-out piece, fashioned in vibrant, happy hues of pink. Diamonds, pearls and pink sapphires of multiple textures and materials are interlaced together, ending at different lengths to create the effect of frayed tweed edges. Central to the bracelet is a pinkish-red Tanzanian spinel, weighing 6.72 carats.
Meanwhile, the Tweed Graphique ring is the most expensive ring on show, priced at over S$1.8 million. Onxy and diamonds are woven in a somewhat random pattern, paying homage to black and white, the house’s signature colour scheme.
Other must-see pieces include the Tweed Brode set, which draws inspiration from the chain sewn into the hemline of a Chanel jacket; the Tweed Frange, a modern-looking set with rhythmic lines of white gold tweed; and the vintage-inspired Tweed Chaine, where forest green tsavorites, pearls, diamonds and yellow gold chains create a scintillating weave. These gold chains are reminiscent of the chains sewn into the base of tweed jackets to maintain their silhouette.
MONTHS IN THE MAKING
The Tweed de Chanel collection, naturally, took months to painstakingly create, Leguereau revealed. “From the first sketches to the final pieces, a collection like this one represents more than six months of drawings, researches and reflections. Once the drawings are done, it takes two years of conversations with the High Jewelry Workshop to create the pieces of the collection.”
Notably, all the pieces in the collection are flexible and soft to the touch, sitting comfortably on the wrist, finger or neckline. To achieve this, the workshop's craftsmen paid great attention to the articulation of the various elements.
Special articulation techniques were developed to imbue vitality of movement into the pieces. The craftsmen also painstakingly pared back the stone settings to the absolute minimum to mimic the litheness of the fabric.
“Tweed is a complex and fascinating material to transpose into high jewellery,” Leguereau said. “I have transposed a weft of perpendicular threads, very geometric, onto the jewellery. What’s so amazing is that tweed lends itself to every possible variation. From the same weft, I created fringed, frayed and embroidered textures, effects that are more or less dense or airy, shades of solid coloured or contrasting stones.”
The Tweed de Chanel collection has undeniably captured the beauty of the fabric to spectacular effect. “What I was trying to express was the wealth of this material, and also its femininity, just as Gabrielle Chanel wanted to, when she integrated tweed into womenswear from the 1920s and constantly reinvented it ever since,” Leguereau shared.
The Tweed de Chanel High Jewellery collection is available for viewing at the Chanel Watches & Fine Jewellery boutique in Ngee Ann City from Feb 27 to Mar 17. No appointment is necessary.