Thursday, 25 October 2012 16:18 | By Charmaine Ho

High Contrast

Two years in the making, the Contraste de Chanel high-jewellery collection is the one of the house’s most adventurous to date. Chanel’s international director of fine jewellery, Benjamin Comar, tells us more.

Pluie de Cristal necklace

Pluie de Cristal necklace in white gold with diamonds and rock crystals.

How did the concept of contrasts become a theme for the collection?

We wanted to do a very new type of collection that is not too figurative. As you know, we have a lot of camellias and stars. This time, we wanted something more psychological and spiritual in terms of concept. So we came up with this idea, which, I think, is very faithful to what Gabrielle Chanel was [about]: Contrasts; in the way she used materials and what she did to women’s fashion. It’s in keeping with the philosophy and the spiritual passion of Chanel.

What makes this collection so special in your opinion?

I like this collection; it’s strong and it’s contemporary. The rock-crystal necklace, for example, is very wearable and flexible. And that, I think, is the main characteristic of this collection. We worked a lot on this because we don’t like to have jewels that look like trophies you can’t use. I think our culture of fashion gives us this know-how.

What are some of the factors that the Chanel team keeps foremost in mind to stay true to the Chanel spirit?

Patrimony, femininity and wearability. These are the three main elements we always keep in mind. To be faithful to the brand that Chanel left us (to try and enhance and nourish this patrimony) and to [make] jewellery for women who wear jewellery. It’s what Gabrielle Chanel told us: Make things for women to be worn. So that’s very important.

This collection uses many stones that aren’t associated with haute joaillerie...

Absolutely. We were the first brand to use ceramic in high jewellery a few years ago. We like using materials that are not always [associated with] jewellery. But [we don’t] use materials for the sake of the material, [rather, it’s in] the service and the creativity of the design. We put design at the centre of our mix, and then find the materials and the techniques [to achieve] it after.


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