Chanel was a creature of contrasts: there was the Chanel of the most sumptuous baroque, of gilded wood and brilliant lacquer, of rococo mirrors and dazzling, playful, unrestrained jewellery; and there was the Chanel of the tailored suit and the little black dress, of the severe cut, of the utmost restraint, of classicism a la francaise. Out of ...
Chanel was a creature of contrasts: there was the Chanel of the most sumptuous baroque, of gilded wood and brilliant lacquer, of rococo mirrors and dazzling, playful, unrestrained jewellery; and there was the Chanel of the tailored suit and the little black dress, of the severe cut, of the utmost restraint, of classicism a la francaise. Out of this dialogue between austerity and ostentation, between hyperbole and understatement, between shadow and light, the jewellery that she created throughout her long career - as opportunity and chance encounter prompted - presents one of the least-known aspects of her work: in counterpoint or complement to the 'costume jewelry' that she gave so knowingly to the world, she invented a jewellery that was unparalleled in its insistence on luxury and refinement, unfettered in its themes, and which drew inspiration from tradition without ever being the slave of everyday formulas or of an obsession with market values. With the help of illustrations and documents, many of them previously unpublished, and based on archival research and interviews with Chanells colleagues and other witnesses of her life and career, this book presents this remarkable facet of a truly fascinating character about whom we thought we already knew all that there was to know: her passion for fabulous jewels, for exceptional stones, for improbable marvels which, to quote her own words, should be viewed "with innocence, with artlessness, just as we enjoy the sight of an apple tree in blossom at the side of the road as we speed past in a motor-car".
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