Patrice Leguéreau has designed a various vary of items since he grew to become the director of Chanel’s Effective Jewellery Inventive Studio in 2009, however they at all times begin with the identical inspiration: the designs, life-style and persona of the model’s founder, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.
“That is the start line, the bottom, the start of every new assortment and new product,” Mr. Leguéreau (pronounced LE-gehr-oh) mentioned in a cellphone interview from his Paris workplace in a Place Vendôme constructing that additionally homes a lately renovated boutique devoted to Chanel’s effective jewellery and watches.
“Typically I’m impressed by Gabrielle Chanel herself: her life, her buddies, her residences,” he added, “or typically solely by a really sturdy graphic icon, like camellia or the lion. The inspiration comes from completely different components of the Chanel universe.”
As its latest couture fashions are being proven, Chanel is presenting Mr. Leguéreau’s newest excessive jewellery assortment in Paris to purchasers and different invited company. (Some items from the road have been proven in Taiwan in Could.) Its 71 objects vary from a relatively subdued white gold and diamond ring accentuated by a big star (in, sure, extra diamonds) to grander items like a white gold collar adorned with 839 diamonds, together with one stone that’s 5.02 carats.
Dubbed the 1932 Excessive Jewellery Assortment, the items pay homage to a line Ms. Chanel created 90 years in the past, known as merely Bijoux de Diamants — diamond jewellery. Just like the clothes and fragrance she’d already develop into well-known for, it was undeniably luxurious however lacked formality and fuss.
“She needed to do in jewellery the identical factor that she did in fashion, which meant that the items ought to be very wearable,” mentioned Fabienne Reybaud, who wrote a quantity on Chanel’s effective jewellery and watches that’s a part of a three-part compendium on the model revealed by Assouline.
With the gathering, Ms. Chanel primarily opened the door for fashion homes to create their very own excessive jewellery strains.
“She disturbed, and she or he moved, the world of jewellery,” Mr. Leguéreau mentioned.
One piece from Bijoux de Diamants, he mentioned, notably impressed him — an open diamond necklace designed to signify a comet, punctuated by a big star. “It’s actually a masterpiece,” he mentioned, including that it’s “jewellery that’s created to suit the physique of the lady.”
The brand new 1932 assortment is Mr. Leguéreau’s second direct homage to Bijoux de Diamants. In 2012, Chanel marked its eightieth anniversary with an identical assortment. This 12 months’s iteration consists of one thing new: coloured stones like sapphires and blue opals blended with the copious array of diamonds.
Additionally, its motifs are devoted to cosmic imagery like moons and stars. The purpose, Mr. Leguéreau mentioned, was “to create a group extra targeted and extra concentrated.”
Mr. Leguéreau oversees the design of Chanel’s excessive jewellery and in addition its much less rarefied effective jewellery. Over time, his collections have included extremely recognizable model motifs, together with particulars that counsel the model’s bouclé jackets and the matelassé quilting of its distinctive purses.
“He creates jewellery the place you possibly can know that it’s by Chanel,” Ms. Reybaud mentioned.
“It’s form of like omni-channel advertising and marketing,” mentioned Christopher Olshan, chief government of the Luxurious Advertising Council Worldwide. “You need a constant model message throughout all channels.”
Though Chanel doesn’t share gross sales figures, its jewellery enterprise seems to be thriving: there are Chanel boutiques that solely promote effective jewellery and watches in cities like London, New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Mr. Leguéreau mentioned that he doesn’t work immediately with the designers of Chanel’s different classes, however he felt an affinity with them. “We’ve all a pure connection collectively, as a result of the Chanel title, the Chanel patrimony, the Chanel historical past, is so deep and so apparent, so clear,” he mentioned.
Mr. Leguéreau, 51, speaks about his work with enthusiasm. In the case of his private life, he’s guarded.
Born in Paris and raised between town and France’s Burgundy area, he received’t share a lot about his upbringing, besides to say that as a toddler he developed a ardour for drawing that he makes use of in his work in the present day, since sketching is an integral a part of the best way he designs. He additionally acquired a love of sports activities that is still — he has run marathons in Paris and New York, as an illustration, and enjoys snowboarding and biking.
As a younger man, he didn’t plan to enter jewellery design — he earned a level in 1991 from École Boulle, a Paris-based faculty of artwork and utilized artwork. However he grew to become enthusiastic about luxurious and, as he put it, “for me, jewellery is essentially the most luxurious exercise.” It led him to earn a graduate diploma in 1998 from the Institut Nationwide de Gemmologie, a few mile northwest of the place he works in the present day.
Earlier than becoming a member of Chanel, he designed jewellery for 17 years at Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Actually, heritage is an inherent a part of his previous employers’ jewellery, however Mr. Leguéreau says Chanel’s hyperlink with its previous is exclusive.
“The heritage is extra a spirit, a philosophy, and that creates for me extra freedom to create very modern and fashionable merchandise,” he mentioned. “That offers more room to create. The spirit could be very, very completely different.”
Mr. Leguéreau’s collections take between two and three years to create, however he’s already planning one thing with a bit extra discover: a group for the a hundredth anniversary of Bijoux de Diamants.
“I’ve began eager about the best way I might have a good time this assortment in 10 years,” he mentioned, “to proceed to be completely different, to shock and to create one thing new and fashionable.”