On Wednesday May 18th, 18 Place Vendôme, the iconic address of Chanel, will reopen its doors 90 years after the creation of ‘Bijoux de Diamants’, the one and only High Jewelry collection created by Mademoiselle Chanel in 1932.
Visitors are greeted by an ethereal console by Delos & Ubiedo and ‘Eternal Movement’ by Idris Khan (2012). On the right as you enter the boutique, imposing openwork screens in hammered bronze conceal the vitrines opening onto Place Vendôme, and structure the space into several salons. The walls lined with black lacquer or relief motifs woven in gold evoke the apartment at 31 rue Cambon, its Coromandel screens and its walls dressed with golden hessian fabric.
By freely associating periods and styles, the atmosphere is resolutely contemporary, with gilded bronze accents – on the table and window frames, on ornaments of the Louis XV offices and the chandeliers by Goossens. In the center, a magnificent atrium with gilded walls is the setting for Johan Creten’s bronze ‘La Borne’, nearly 3 meters tall and a spectacular figurative tribute to the Vendôme Column. Above, a huge mirror reflects the daylight, revealing glimpses of the new floor dedicated exclusively to the Fine Watchmaking collections.
Towards the back, a fourth salon offers an unrestricted view of the boutique. A Goossens mirror framed with crystal pebbles reflects glimpses of gold and bronze from the furniture including a Mica coffee table by Ingrid Donat. Exiting the salon, on the right, a bronze ‘Wapiti’ by François-Xavier Lalanne stands opposite a lift whose internal walls are decorated with facsimiles of three works by Picasso: « Still Life with a Violin » (1912), « Seated Man Reading a Newspaper » (1912), « Man with an umbrella reading a journal » (1914).
On the right of the lift, at the bottom of a staircase with clean lines and transparent balustrades decorated with crystal and gilded bronze rectangular cabochons, a contemporary silver steel sculpture ‘Coco Chandelier’ by Joel Morrison, especially created for the reopening of the boutique, invites the visitor to continue their journey. On the first floor, three balustrades offer a bird’s eye view of the boutique. The light of Place Vendôme streams in through the three main windows to reveal the most exceptional creations of Fine Watchmaking.
On the left, a ‘Colonnes’ by Farfelus Farfadets supports ‘New Neurose’, a unique piece by Johan Creten in glazed sandstone with a gold luster. In the centre of the room stands the ‘Hamada Low’ table in white bronze and a raw black oak by Jean-Luc Le Mounier. Walls and tables in white or black lacquer highlight the gold accents of the seats and display cabinets. The curtains alternate the effects of the materials used, the delicacy of taffeta with the naturalness of an open weave hessian, offer a captivating contrast. A horizontal collage by Peter Dayton plays on mesmerizing variations of the camellia, Mademoiselle Chanel’s favorite flower. A private salon offers an unrivaled view of the Vendôme Column. Hanging on the wall opposite the entrance is ‘Coco in Diamonds’, a portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel made out of diamonds by Vik Muniz. Lined with mirrors and gold tweed, the walls are also embellished with a sculpture by Sophie Coryndon in 24-carat gold leaf, wood and jesmonite. A Louis XV bureau, a gilded table by Garrido, and a Chinese porcelain lamp inlaid with mother-of-pearl complete the ensemble.
The journey continues up towards the second floor. At the top of the stairs, a bench with gold leaf gilding by the artist Anthonioz invites a moment of contemplation. Opposite, on a hammered bronze console, a pair of vases hold arrangements of nineteenth-century Meiji-period flowers and lotus leaves in gilded wood. The vestibule, like a safe, showcases an exceptional piece of High Jewelry from the Chanel Patrimoine collection. Featuring a 55.55-carat custom-cut DFL Type IIa diamond, the N°5 necklace has found its home and is revealed enigmatically through mirrored walls. On the wall on the left of the vestibule, a painting in oil on burlap by Ha Chong-Hyun plays with the contrast of the ceiling covered with gold leaf and the walls in black and gold lacquer. Revealing the Salon Vendôme, the four windows with painted beige silk curtains offer a powerful view over the square and the Vendôme Column. On the right, the deep, vibrant textures of ‘Composition’, an imposing oil on canvas by Nicolas de Staël (1950), echo the lines and mineral universe of the square. The painting is reflected in a symmetrically placed mirror of the same width, enabling visitors to admire it from all angles. The matt white walls accentuated by subtle reliefs capture and subdue the natural light. A sculptural bronze armchair by Voukenas Petrides and a coffee table by Reda Amalou complete the space with their gold shine. Presiding over the centre of this sumptuous space is a long table in black oak with chairs in a light brushed oak.
Thus, over three levels, with beige, white, black, and gold singing in harmony, spaces opt for pared-back lines and materials, offering a discreet opulence. Some of these have been developed specifically for Chanel, such as carpets and rugs, which evoke tweed patterns, and enhance the building’s feeling of comfort, warmth, and intimacy. Others pay homage to the world of Chanel jewelry, with beige gold or gilded bronze adorning certain ceilings. Works by Peter Marino – a subtle presence in the boutique and placed here and there in the different spaces – underline the resolutely contemporary universe of this address. Olivier Polge, Chanel in-house Perfumer Creator, has imagined an exclusive olfactory identity with intense notes of amber mingled with the elegance of iris.
Paris, France CHANEL Horlogerie Joallerie 18 Place Vendome
WHERE FASHION GETS CREATIVE
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