The World Behind Chanel’s Flying Cloud Jewellery Collection

Eliza Scarborough   |   14 - 10 - 2017



1926 Chanel sur le pont du Flying Cloud

No other image could more accurately represent the fierce quest for freedom that propelled Gabrielle Chanel throughout her life. Gabrielle Chanel was a person characterised by contrast, and she lived to free the body from all hindrances, to separate true desire from false pretence, relationships from the weight of convention, life from the ordinary, and to exist as if suspended where air and water meet, between sky and sea.


Flying Cloud is also the name of the yacht which belonged to Hugh Grosvenor, one of the men who undoubtedly counted the most in the designer’s life. The yacht with a black hull and a white wooden deck was the emblem of a lifestyle in which the most extravagant luxury was merely a prerequisite for the most extreme simplicity, of lunches enjoyed under the sun, charades, and conversations among friends. ‘Luxury’, as Gabrielle Chanel used to say, ‘is a necessity that starts where necessity stops’.


As an homage to these solar, radiant moments in the life of Mademoiselle, and in sync with the cruise season, Chanel Fine Jewellery presents the Flying Cloud collection in two chapters. The first chapter reinvents and showcases the most simple and necessary elements to life at sea, buoys sculpted in white gold, lapis-lazuli and cultured pearls in the Precious Float line, ropes crafted from gold and diamonds for the Sparkling Lines collection, white gold anchors, pearls and sapphires for the Yachting Day line, and sails, compasses and tattoos, in white or yellow gold set with sapphires and diamonds for Sailor Tattoo. Also seen are the endless shades of broad ocean expanses, from the transparency of the Turquoise Waters line in white gold, sapphires, and diamonds, to the deep, dark blue of the high seas seen in the Deep Blue set made from sapphires, white gold and diamonds.



The second chapter presents a series of variations on the summer wardrobe, exploring freedom of movement and clothing that seems to float around the body. The Summer Cruise line features alternating bands of deep blue sapphires, white gold, cultured pearls or yellow and white diamonds, Golden Braid depicts the braids seen on marine uniforms, and the Sailor Suit set showcases large yellow or white gold buttons like those seen on sailors’ jackets. These are paired with a gold bracelet and ring in the shape of knotted rope and set with diamonds from the Sunny Rope line, along with bib necklaces and bracelets in white gold, sapphires, and diamonds from the Sapphire Stripes series. The highlights of this collection dedicated to the sun’s golden light and the freshness of the Mediterranean breeze are two unique pieces crafted by master goldsmiths, a bib necklace featuring a woven design in white gold, sapphires and cultured pearls from the Azurean Braid line, and a supple rope motif necklace in white gold and diamonds from the Endless Knot line.