The director of the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio, Patrice Leguéreau, takes Vogue Scandinavia behind the scenes to witness the French Maison's unmatched savoir faire, epitomised by the 'Tweed Royal' necklace
Gabrielle Chanel's love affair with Great Britain established some of the French Maison's most recognisable design vernacular. She first discovered Scotland's gently rolling hills and valleys, swept by wind and sun, in the 1920s, during her love affair with the Duke of Westminster. During her visits, Chanel borrowed the Duke's tweed jackets, leading Chanel to embrace this warm, comfortable, woolly fabric – woven in countless different patterns by the Scots – and make it her own.
A century later, in 2020, tweed entered the world of Chanel jewellery when the French Maison introduced its first collection dedicated entirely to the Scottish fabric, reproducing its suppleness and subtleties through the skilful use of articulation.
Now, Patrice Leguéreau, director of the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation, revisits the fabric for his latest collection, which features five new tweed jewellery weaves. Rendered in five different colours, the pieces are adorned with five icons dear to Gabrielle Chanel: the white ribbon, the pink camellia, the comet on a blue background, the yellow sun and the lion highlighted with flashes of red. "My dream was to create a tweed set with precious stones," says Leguéreau. "For this new High Jewelry collection dedicated to Tweed, I wanted to go further in the interpretation by creating a veritable fabric of precious stones that is light and supple."
Chanel's 'Tweed Royal' necklace.
There's an undeniable suppleness in the weave of gems, the settings – featuring minuscule hinges, rings and articulations – central in creating the fabric fluidity. Airy and textured, the glittering tweed is fringed and lightened, graphic and symmetrical to create a veritable textile of jewels. The mastery of materials that Chanel's atelier inhabits thoroughly re-creates the true-to-life fleecy, textured thickness of the British cloth. Its comfort and softness, meanwhile, are echoed in the work carried out specifically on the back of each piece.
Among the 63 news tweed-inspired designs, the 'Tweed Royal' set forms the centrepiece of the collection. Consisting of a necklace, bracelet and ring, the ruby embellished pieces frame the ferocious motif of a lion's head – inspired by Mademoiselle Chanel's star sign, Leo. The necklace itself is Intricately crafted and trimmed with a chain, the yellow gold weave of the plastron set with diamonds and an ensemble of rubies, the lion's head at its centre.
Below, discover the minute craftsmanship required to create this masterpiece:
Chanel's skilled artisans first make a resin maquette to create the full shape of the “Tweed Royal” necklace, following the intricate design laid out in both sketch and on the wooden bust.
Next, the artisans position the pavé-set elements on the design for the 'Tweed Royal' necklace, for example, the golden links emulating the tweed weave, followed by polishing
Chanel's artisans check and adjust the articulations with set elements and resin rubies on the design for the “Tweed Royal” necklace. The weave formation allows the necklace to take on a fabric-like fluidity.
The final assembly is marked by the positioning of the centre stone on the “Tweed Royal” necklace, placed carefully among the pavé-set elements.
Next, the 'Tweed Royal' necklace is dismantled and polished using traditional techniques.
Finally, the main motif of the 'Tweed Royal' necklace – the lion's head, inspired by Madmoiselle Chanel's star sign Leo – is made, pinned and assembled on the 'Tweed Royal' necklace.
The finished 'Tweed Royal' set features a yellow gold weave, intricately crafted and trimmed with a chain – set with diamonds and a magnificent ensemble of 37 rubies. The lion's head at its centre can be worn as a brooch or as a necklace on the plastron, while the magnificent 10.17 carats pear-cut diamond that adorns it, can be detached to be worn as a ring.