For Gabrielle Chanel, style was a way of living. “I’m like a snail,” she confided to Claude Delay. “I carry my house with me… Two Chinese screens, books everywhere. I’ve never been able to live in an open house. The first thing I look for is screens.” In her visit to Chanel’s apartment at 31 Rue Cambon, Emily Lam Ho discovers the many Coromandel lacquer screens Coco loved to collect. The rich floral motifs and intricate Chinese designs have also inspired Chanel High Jewelry’s newest Coromandel collection.
The fifty-nine piece collection feature all of Coco’s favourite details and motifs around three themes: floral, animal and mineral. All the gemstones used are inspired by the vibrant colours of Coromandel lacquers – from the exuberant greens of Tsavorite garnets and emeralds to deep-red rubies and rich black onyx – and feature birds just about to take flight, much like they do in the Chinese artwork showcased on Coromandel screens. Details of mother-of-pearl and other mineral elements add to the dreamlike and exotic quality of these pieces.