PALM BEACH, Fla. — It was a case of better late than never at the debut of a worldwide tour of Chanel’s Collection Privée jewelry.
This story first appeared in the February 18, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In 1932, Coco Chanel was supposed to present her first collection of diamond jewelry in the U.S., but couldn’t secure an insurance bond. Seventy-one years later, a fine jewelry exhibit has finally hit the States and is being shown at select Chanel stores nationwide.
“We’re coming now. Insurance bonds are much more reasonable these days and we didn’t even have to take a 15-day boat ride,” said Marc Auclert, the Paris-based global director of fine jewelry.
He describes the 35 pieces selected for the tour from the collection of 150 items as “the most important in terms of value and creation.”
“French jewelers really pride themselves in inventing different clasps to alter their creations,” said Auclert, as he demonstrated how a necklace comes apart to form different lengths and bracelets dangling with sparkling, shooting stars.
A diamond choker with sapphire moons, stars and planets suspended inside two teardrop-shaped bubbles of rock crystal shows the collection’s whimsical side. Its backside is covered in diamonds, as well.
“It’s a totally useless, egocentric characteristic, but that’s real luxury,” he said. “It’s jewelry that’s both serious and fun at the same time.”
Though pieces aren’t exact replicas of Coco’s designs, each channels her passion for liberty, flow and drama. Ranging in price from $15,000 to $2.4 million, quantities of this collection are kept to a minimum.
Palm Beach seemed like the ideal place for the champagne-sipping, jazz-fueled kickoff party because of its clientele and the coinciding arts and antiques show, the company said. The next stop is the store in Beverly Hills for the Academy Awards, and then it’s on to Asia, Europe and the New York flagship.