18, place Vendôme : trip to Coco Chanel
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the print edition of the 2022 spring-summer issue of Luxus+ Mag. Click here to see the full issue.
At 18 Place Vendôme, the newly renovated Chanel Haute Joaillerie-Horlogerie flagship invites you on an extraordinary journey to the heart of the history and universe of Coco, but also of art and beauty. And this, in a dazzling setting of gold, beige, white and black harmonies, installed on the most legitimate place for jewelry and watchmaking.
The private mansion built in 1767, already occupied since 1997 by the first jewellery and watchmaking shop designed by Peter Marino, has been redesigned by the magic wand of the famous New York architect. After a year of work, the result, unveiled on 18 May, dazzles with its unrestrained use of the most refined materials, its works of art and its furniture selected or created especially for this hybrid place. For in addition to a “boutique-museum-gallery”, 18 Place Vendôme also houses the creative studios and jewellery workshops of the famous House.
The boutique has been redesigned on three levels and doubled in size to 1000 m2, divided into lounges to ensure privacy. It is first and foremost a living and contemporary tribute to the famous designer. She lived and worked nearby, at the Ritz Hotel and on rue Cambon. And who showed audacity by associating costume jewellery and precious stones in her only collection of high jewellery in 1932.
Tributes to Coco
The interior decoration thus offers strong references to Coco Chanel. From the entrance of the shop, the majestic openwork screens in hammered bronze, hiding the windows that open onto the Place Vendôme, or the walls covered in black lacquer or gold weaving reliefs, recall 31 rue Cambon. Throughout the shop, the carpets and rugs evoke the tweed patterns so dear to the House. While the portrait of the designer in diamonds, signed by Vik Muniz, or the collage by Peter Dayton, hypnotic variations on the camellia, Coco’s favourite flower, are all icons in her honour.
On the furniture side, one can admire Louis XV desks as well as an airy console by Delos & Ubiedo, a white bronze and black raw oak table by Jean-Luc Le Mounier, a bench by Anthonioz, gilded with leaf, or coffee tables by Reda Amalou or “Mica” by Ingrid Donat. All this in a setting that creates an impression of luxury, calm and pleasure: staircase with transparent railings decorated with crystal and gilded bronze cabochons, walls covered with mirrors and gilded tweed, hand-painted beige silk curtains…
The works of art reinforce the munificence of the place. Among other wonders, “Coco Chandelier”, a contemporary sculpture in silver steel by Joel Morrison, created especially for the reopening. Or “La Borne”, a bronze work by Johan Creten, almost 3 metres high, a figurative tribute to the Vendôme column, exhibited in a majestic atrium with gilded walls; a bronze “Wapiti” by François-Xavier Lalanne or, scattered around the shop, chests and a pair of bronze lamps by Peter Marino. Three facsimiles by Pablo Picasso decorate the walls of a lift.
Two vases with bouquets of flowers and lotuses in gilded wood from the Meiji era placed on a hammered bronze console welcome you to the second floor, known as the “noble” floor. The latter, which has no commercial purpose, is more like an art gallery-museum. While the Grand Salon is reserved for privatized operations, the public has access to thematic showcases presenting “heritage” pieces. At the centre of attention, in the vestibule, is a permanent installation of the N°5 necklace adorned with a 55.55 carat diamond, cut to measure! This exceptional piece of Haute Joaillerie by Chanel is mysteriously revealed in a showcase “as if suspended” through mirrored walls.
In the large Salon, reserved for the Happy Few, an impressive oil on canvas by Nicolas de Staël from the 1950s finally catches the eye.
But in this magnificent place, are there still models for sale? Yes, but the elegant showcases on the ground and first floors, where jewellery and watches are displayed here and there, blend in so well that you might think they were part of an exhibition… Except that it is not forbidden to buy them.
Read also >BRIEF HISTORY OF LUXURY: VIVIENNE WESTWOOD, QUEEN OF PUNK FASHION
Featured photo : © Chanel
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