A Very Private London Home for Chanel Fine Jewellery

Inspired by the designer’s Parisian homes, there’s much to discover at the newly opened London Chanel Watch and Fine Jewellery Boutique.

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It is fair to say that couturier Coco Chanel had a lifelong love affair with jewellery, from priceless gems to stand-out costume pieces: Verdura cuffs worn on both wrists and entwining strings of pearls. When presenting the house’s first Fine Jewellery collection in November 1932, Chanel chose to invite an entourage to her Paris town house. The collection was called ‘Bijoux de Diamants’, and guests at 29 Faubourg Saint-Honoré that day marvelled at high-carat diamonds set entirely in pure platinum, its motif: the star.

Decades may have passed since that presentation, but the house of Chanel (luckily) continues to present Fine Jewellery in a very personal setting. A case in point, is the completely renovated London boutique at 173 New Bond Street. Joining forty-three global Watch and Fine Jewellery boutiques (since 1997, the Paris boutique can be found in listed townhouse Hôtel Cressart on Place Vendôme), the London setting is the work of New York architect Peter Marino. Marino combined antiques, contemporary art and specialist crafts, inspired by Mademoiselle’s private homes, including her famous rue Cambon apartment.

Previously set over a single ground floor, the boutique’s layout is now extended to three levels, sprawling an impressive 418 square meters. Authenticity is key and every effort has been made to avoid replicas. For example, the beautifully detailed Coromandel screens that adorn the walls are actual 17th century artefacts, sourced as a complete set by Marino himself.

This being Chanel, the devil is in the detail: the central staircase features a rock crystal and bronze balustrade, the lift is encased in shiny glass and there is even a fireplace, with a red marble mantlepiece and hand forged andirons. The stairs are the work of French specialist Goossens, named after jeweller Robert Goossens who first met Coco Chanel in the 1950s and who became her design collaborator. The pre-existing second floor has been renovated entirely, turning the first floor into a cathedral like setting for assorted jewellery pieces.

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There is also 18th century Venetian gilt-wood mirror and sparkling chandeliers (again a custom creation by Goossens). Contemporary interior designer Alasdair Cooke is represented via an abstract floral, black and gold lacquered custom cabinet.

There are many more artworks and special commissions to chance upon, and perhaps that is one of our favourite aspects of the new Chanel Fine Jewellery and Watches Boutique – the collaborations with highly skilled craftspeople, and the support of contemporary artists.

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