Fashion

Chanel's Collection Pays Homage to Coco Chanel's Lover, the Duke of Westminster

These pieces document Chanel's life aquatic.
IMAGE TIME LIFE PICTURES/PICTURES INC./LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES(CHANEL), COURTESY CHANEL (RING)
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During one especially heated argument with her lover, the Duke of Westminster, so the legend goes, Coco Chanel leaned over the rail of his yacht and threw an emerald into the sea. That gesture may have given birth, however symbolically, to the house’s new Flying Cloud High Jewelry collection. The name is taken from the duke’s vessel.


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Chanel with a friend onboard the Duke of Westminster's Flying Cloud

And if that inspiration is strictly spiritual, the motifs of a life aquatic are visibly woven through the collection’s 63 pieces. Circular buoy shapes are suspended from pearls and studded with diamonds and lapis lazuli. Ropes are rendered in yellow gold and diamonds and finished in a bracelet. Sailing stripes line a diamond and sapphire cuffs.


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Pearl, lapis, and diamond earrings and necklace

When Chanel was not on the Flying Cloud, she was overlooking it from her villa, La Pausa, where the High Jewelry collection was presented in the house’s sparsely decorated rooms. The designer built the villa in 1929, and it was recently reacquired by the company that bears her name.


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La Pausa, the villa Chanel built from the ground up in the South of France, was recently acquired by her namesake company.


The South of France region where Chanel’s villa is located.

In the halls of La Pausa, where Chanel’s friends Picasso and Cocteau once roamed, jewelry editors from around the world could be seen, one night last July, ogling a five-strand necklace of draped diamonds.

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This story appears in the November 2017 issue of Town & Country. Subscribe Now.

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Stellene Volandes
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