Les Bles de Chanel delves into the designer’s belief in wheat as a symbol of prosperity
As far back as she could remember, Gabrielle Chanel always had fond memories of wheat. She saw it as a symbol of prosperity and health. This crop also reminded her of her father, who was a farmer and liked to use the expression “my good wheat”. That phrase followed Chanel into adulthood and wheat became one of her favourite lucky charms.
From her rue Cambon apartment to her suite at the Ritz and even her home in La Pausa, one can find wheat in all forms: in lush bouquets, as carvings of wood and bronze, as well as in paintings. Particularly, there was a 1947 painting of a single wheat ear that was a gift from her good friend Salvador Dali, a painting by Willy Fleur in 1966 of a lion holding an ear of wheat between its teeth, and various sculptures and furniture pieces using wheat as a design motif.
For her 1960 spring/summer collection, Chanel designed an haute couture dress in ivory lace overstitched with golden thread in an ear-of-wheat motif. French actress Jeanne Moreau has been photographed dressed in this gorgeous frock in 1961.
Les Bles de Chanel thus draws us into the inner sanctum of Chanel’s world where something so unassuming as wheat has come to inspire an entire collection of high jewellery pieces.
This is the first time Chanel has designed a high jewellery collection themed solely on wheat. Representing good wishes of regeneration, abundance, luck, prosperity and endless creativity, the pieces follow the complete life cycle of wheat.
Beginning in early spring when the fields are green with young wheat shoots, Chanel evokes the verdant scenery with diamonds, peridots, crystalline and aquamarines. Premier Brins, Brins de Printemps and Brins de Diamonds play with wheat stalks forming necklaces, earrings and rings.
Then summer comes round and the wheat fields turn a glorious golden hue most beautiful at sunrise and sunset. Accordingly, the jewellery pieces are designed in yellow gold and adorned with diamonds, yellow sapphires and pearls to highlight the rich bounty. Moisson Ensoleillee and Moisson de Perles bask in the warmth of the bright summer sun.
Next, Impression de Ble and Ble Infini offer different variations on the theme, reinventing the motif as artful and abstract designs. Champ de Ble continues with the abstract approach but zeroes in on the wheat of early summer using either yellow or white gold, along with diamonds in a network of foliage. Legende de Ble showcases wheat in its most majestic form, adorning the ears, wrists and neck.
Some of the most memorable pieces include the L’Epi brooch which is inspired by that painting by Dali, the Moisson Ensoleillee brooch featuring a 10.2-carat yellow sapphire and marquise-cut yellow sapphires, marquise-cut peridot earrings from the Brins de Printemps line, and a Legende de Ble ring.
The most expensive item among all 47 pieces is the Epi Solaire ring in platinum and yellow gold set with a pear-cut 5.4-carat fancy vivid orange yellow diamond, yellow diamonds and diamonds.
Delightful, spirited and iconic, Les Bles de Chanel will startle you with its playfulness and that is only the first thing you’ll discover about the collection.