Chanel Costume Jewellery

Discover the history of Chanel costume jewellery with this collective post of history, ad campaign images plus backstage and past collection images that will have you longing for every single piece of these iconic jewels.

Mademoiselle Chanel always loved mixing things up, combining real with faux and wearing precious pieces with costume jewellery. It served as both a source of inspiration and an attitude located somewhere between simplicity and sophistication – a provocative pleasure.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Gabrielle Chanel at work circa 1937 lensed by Roger Schall.

 

The first pieces of Chanel costume jewellery appeared in the 1920s. And, with the collaboration of various jewellers and costume jewellery makers, these creations were nourished by an eclectic profusion of inspirations and artisanal/traditional know-how. Immediately, jewellery became the complement to a silhouette. A signature accessory that to this day remains essential to the Chanel allure.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Femina of November 1924 lensed by Adolf Demeyer.

 

Just as she drew upon her own life and passions for her fashion designs, Gabrielle Chanel’s approach to creating costume jewellery was influenced by artistic and social encounters. Like her, her models wore costume jewellery with opulence, layering necklaces and sautoirs and multiplying brooches and bracelets. Her exacting insistence on pure lines and sobriety was enhanced by a profusion of stones, faux pearls and precious metals such as vermeil, plated metal and bronze.

Pushing her aesthetic even further, the designer created jewellery that was integral to a look: a cuff bracelet might replace a shirt cuff, a jewelled belt would accentuate the waist, or a cleverly placed brooch could alter the fall of a dress.

Gabrielle Chanel called upon the costume jewellery maker Gripoix in the 1920s and the goldsmith François Hugo in the 1930s. Then, starting in 1954, she began collaborating with the goldsmith Robert Goossens, who transposed her vision of an ornamental lexicon. The metalwork was similar to a jeweller’s, with poured glass and rock crystal in the stead of real stones. And with the craftsman that she called her “barbarian Byzantine”, Chanel developed a series of her favorite symbols: crosses, lions, the sun, stars, and feathers.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Mademoiselle Chanel and her famous pearls necklace © Lipnitzki Roger Viollet.

 

When she was designing a collection, Chanel and Goossens would meet at 31 Rue Cambon practically every day. From their exchanges, reading and museum visits came jewellery that met with resounding success. Some styles, such as the “nest” earrings, sautoirs and barrette brooches, became classics.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Spring Summer 1988 Ready-To-Wear campaign lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

 

While the collaboration between Robert Goossens and Mademoiselle Chanel was interrupted by her death in 1971, the relationship between Goossens and Chanel continued. In 2005 the Goossens workshops joined the Métiers d’Art group belonging to Paraffection, the company Chanel created to preserve and sustain the unique know-how at creative houses linked to Haute Couture.

Baroque or Byzantine-inspired jewellery, cascades of pearls and Art Deco lines… To perfect the illusion of costume jewellery, break with convention and blur the line between real and faux.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Fall Winter 1991 Ready-To-Wear collection featuring Linda Evangelista and lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Spring Summer 1989 Ready-To-Wear campaign lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 collection lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

“Costume jewellery isn’t made to provoke desire, just astonishment at most. It must remain an ornament and an amusement.” Gabrielle Chanel.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery 2010/11 PARIS BYZANCE Metiers d’art collection lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 collection lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery 2016/17 PARIS COSMOPOLITE Metiers d’art collection lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 collection lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

 

After Gabrielle Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld naturally picked up the thread of Chanel costume jewellery.

Each season, the double C crops up as a charm on sautoirs, cuffs and earrings; faux pearls and strass form constellations on pieces in silver or gold plate. Resin, Plexiglas and even certain kinds of fabrics have joined the costume jewellery lineup.

Today, the tradition continues: a major part of production is entrusted to the costume jewellery and accessories maker Desrues, a supplier to Chanel since 1965 and a part of the House since 1985.

Every Ready-to-Wear, Cruise and Métiers d’Art collection features a wide array of costume jewellery. Meticulously worked pieces are designed to be worn in new ways; infused with the same inspirations, they serve as essential complements to each look.

For the 2017/18 Cruise Collection, Karl Lagerfeld cast the spotlight on symbols from Antiquity and cleverly combined them with those of the House.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 Ad Campaign lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 Ad Campaign lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

 

Goddess togas, shepherd tunics and revisited suits are punctuated with costume jewellery, elegant parures and an eclectic mix of pieces. Symbols lifted from mythology and Hellenistic civilization blend with emblematic Chanel signatures. A sign of prosperity, knowledge and eloquence, the bee keeps company with charms in the shape of amphorae.  While Athena’s owl and flowers from the garden of Olympus alternate with the double C, quilted metal and Mademoiselle’s beloved faux pearls.

Silver or gold-plated metal, resin, semi-precious stones such as aquamarine, cornelian, agate or smoked quartz, and leather adorn a costume jewellery collection done in the orange and terracotta hues of ancient Greece and a vibrant color palette (royal blue, turquoise, green, pink).

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 Ad Campaign lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 Ad Campaign lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 Ad Campaign lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

 

In this revisited Antiquity, bracelets are worn high on the arm, headbands made of chains, and leather flowers become true head jewellery. A blend of strength and delicacy, beauty and graphic art, each piece goes with the next, echoing the jewels worn by Greek goddesses and the spirit of accumulation that, ever since Gabrielle Chanel’s time, has been the House’s signature.

Tie-shaped chokers give the classic chain interwoven with leather a new twist, layering with long sautoirs strung with pearls and stones. On the wrists, wide leather cuff bracelets in Pop Art colors bear a double C, while bracelets in hammered metal or with leather weave wrap around the arm.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 Ad Campaign lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 Ad Campaign lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

 

Elsewhere, majestic sets lend structure to refined silhouettes. A multitude of fine chains embellishes a necklace with strass flowers that sits on the shoulders like a plastron; in a bracelet version, it circles the wrist and elegantly follows the body’s every movement.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 collection lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery Cruise 2017/18 collection lensed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery backstage Cruise collection.

Chanel Costume Jewellery

Chanel Costume Jewellery backstage Cruise collection.

In the contrast between Spartan allure and goddess-like elegance, Chanel Costume Jewellery offers an idea of femininity that embodies strength and beauty throughout the ages.

http://www.chanel.com/

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