Although Gabrielle Chanel never visited Russia, the Le Paris Russe de Chanel high jewellery collection draws inspiration from her Russian fascination, based on encounters with exiled Russian artists in Paris and the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, with whom she had a brief yet intense affair in 1921.
The 69-piece Le Paris Russe de Chanel (“Russian Paris of Chanel” in French) collection is presented in 11 sets that reflect the grandiose life of refined Russia and its folk art prints, rich colours, motifs and intricate embroidery. Pieces from the Roubachka set showcase a bejewelled tapestry that reflects the artistry of traditional rubakha tunics worn during old Slavic times. This is evidenced on the white gold necklace with a central 2.5-carat round-cut diamond, eight cream pink cultured pearls and 790 round-cut diamonds weighing 9.3 carats. The matching earrings are encrusted with six cream pink cultured pearls and 306 diamonds totalling 5.57 carats.
Patrice Leguéreau, Director of Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio, peppered the collection with signature Chanel motifs, including ears of wheat (a Russian symbol of wealth) and the camellia in figurative and abstract forms. The emblematic flower is highlighted in a lace-like motif on the Broderie Byzantine suite, as seen on this exquisite white gold necklace, which is adorned with tiers of cream pink cultured pearls, a 4.02-carat cushion-cut diamond and a pear-cut diamond pendant of 5.05 carats. The matching ring is a statement piece bedecked with 220 diamonds weighing 5.34 carats, 22 cream pink cultured pearls and a central 3.09-carat cushion-cut diamond.
The insignia-inspired Aigle Cambon suite features the double-headed eagle prominently as showcased on this platinum-set diamond necklace and ring. A historic imperial Russian symbol signifying the empire, the motif is also found on a baroque mirror in Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment on Rue Cambon. The transformable necklace is graced by a dazzling 15.25-carat emerald-cut diamond and accented by 667 scintillating marquise, round and pear-cut diamonds weighing 72.2 carats. The spectacular accompanying ring flaunts a central emerald-cut diamond of 3.7 carats and 239 fancy- and round-cut diamonds totalling 7.88 carats.
Alluding to the sun and military orders with blazing diamonds and pearls is the Médaille Solaire suite. Set in white and yellow gold, this long tiered necklace is embellished with 294 cream pink cultured pearls and 1,049 round, pear- and oval-cut diamonds totalling 35.17 carats. The matching bracelet features 54 cream pink cultured pearls as well as 334 oval- and round-cut diamonds with a weight of 14.12 carats. The white and yellow gold Médaille Solaire ring mesmerises with a 2.01-carat round diamond centre stone and a further 170 diamonds weighing 2.5 carats.
Fashion Direction & Styling: Johnny Khoo | Photography: Wee Khim | Hair: Edward Chong/Evolve, using Kevin.murphy | Make-up: Elain Lim, using Chanel Colours | Photography Assistance: Chong Ng | Fashion Assistance: Felix Woei & Teo Shi Yun | Model: Saara/Ave