Interview with Frédéric Grangie President of CHANEL Watches & Jewelry

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CHANEL presented its Fall Winter 2002/2023 Haute Couture Collection at the Etrier de Paris, equestrian center in the Bois de Boulogne. Once again, Virginie Viard invited the artist Xavier Veilhan to the scenography. Echoing the first show he designed in January, he imagined a new installation with virtual and physical spaces inviting a journey through the inflatable installation, leading to a dreamlike geometric carousel.

By inviting artists to interpret the emotion and perfection of Haute Couture, Virginie Viard continues to mix the arts, just like Coco Chanel. The show was as grand as the collection. The result is incredibly wearable, feminine and powerful.

Virginie Viard celebrated the 1930s pieces designed by Mademoiselle Chanel. There were lots of pleats, rounded shoulders, geometric patterns, embroidery, sequins forming flowers, velvet.

Big and small hats in flashy colors, long dresses with lace and muslin, coats for all occasions, mid-length skirt suits associated with cowboy boots bringing so much modernity.

Green look, silver suit and this beautiful “transparent black” dress giving such an impression of lightness. Clothes are definitely designed to be worn.

For the first time, certain looks were accessorized with exceptional pieces from “1932The latest Chanel Haute Joaillerie collection, a tribute to the “Jewelry of Diamonds” collection created by Gabrielle Chanel in 1932.

The afternoon of the fashion show, in one of the most beautiful offices in Paris with a view of Place Vendôme, Frédéric Grangié, President of CHANEL Watches and Jewelry, talks about “1932” and its division. There are CEOs that we like to meet, Frédéric Grangié is one of them.

When did you arrive at Chanel?

I started at Chanel on February 29, 2016. So I celebrate my birthday at Chanel every four years! I sat in this office on July 1, 2016, the day Chanel and street artist Gad Weil laid out a million ear wheat field. I thought I was lucky!

Can you tell us about the 1932 High Jewelry Collection?

This collection celebrates 90 years of Haute Joaillerie at Chanel. We are now in a very important cycle, it has already started years ago. We wouldn’t have reached this level without 30 years of hard work, investment and passion. These last three years have been very important for us, but unfortunately with the context we have not been able to organize an event. We could finally exhibit “1932”, a tribute to the “Jewelry of Diamonds” collection at the Grand Palais Ephémère. It was the perfect place to tell the story of what happened in 1932.

So what happened in 1932?

The London Diamond Corporation asked designer Gabrielle Chanel to create the very first Haute Joaillerie collection. For the first time, a strong and powerful woman, a seamstress, a seamstress has imagined a diamond collection that is above all very easy to wear. It was an opportunity to explore innovative ideas and apply Haute Couture to Haute Joaillerie. She designed the collection around a unity of themes (the comet, the sun, the stars and Couture with ribbons, bows, feathers, fringes) and time and place. It was unlike anything else created by jewelers of its time. These themes are the foundations of Chanel Montres & Haute Joaillerie today. After Black Thursday in 1929 and the pessimistic mood of the time, it was a revolution in the 1930s.

Today it’s obvious to us but we couldn’t imagine what would happen when Gabrielle Chanel created it. We could see it in the Pathé Gaumont short film of the exhibition that we discovered in 2012. The documentary was shot in Gabrielle Chanel’s private mansion and it presented a representative selection of the jewels of the exhibition highlighting two pieces in gold and yellow diamonds. “Bijoux de Diamants” was above all a collection designed for women. Men no longer came to buy jewelry for their wives, but women could buy diamonds for themselves. She was always ahead of her time.

The way she presented the collection at her home at 29 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré was thought out down to the smallest detail. The models were made up and had their hair done. The elegant invitation card was printed in black and white and the entrance fee of 20 francs would be donated to two charities. It was definitely a first in the world of luxury!

And today? After 90 years, the Chanel Haute Joaillerie Creation Studio directed by Patrice Leguéreau was inspired by the modern spirit of “Diamond Jewelry” to create a new story. The 1932 High Jewelry Collection is a journey beyond time and space to contemplate the rotation of the planets and the movement of the stars. Patrice revisited the Comet, the Moon, the Sun and added the satellite and the rocket. The creative studio has come up with 77 creations – 15 are over a million – 13 can be transformed by rolling up and resting freely against the body. We are very proud because all the pieces were made here in the design studio at 18 place Vendôme. It took 3800 hours of work. It’s incredible. The original collection was almost entirely blank, the new gives pride of place to colored gems: sapphires, opals, rubies, spinels, tanzanites, blue and yellow diamonds. 1932 is a collection, so we will continue to have it in 20, 30 or 50 years. We will of course celebrate its hundredth anniversary in 2032!

And the “Allure Celeste” necklace, the flagship piece of the collection?

It’s already an icon! The necklace was sold before it was even presented. This had never happened before. This piece was already exceptional: among other things the round-cut diamond, an oval sapphire with its incredible deep color and especially by its weight: 55.55 carats! This necklace was born under a lucky star for sure! We love that at Chanel.

what does “1932” mean to you?

Gabrielle Chanel said:Nothing better to forget the crisis than to feast on beautiful novelties, which the know-how of our craftsmen continues to reveal.”. This collection has a double importance. First of all, I think about the amount of work done on the brand and the creation and the fact that we always want to elevate Chanel, which is always our first aspiration. Then the sales follow, it is a consequence finally. Commercially, this collection had a huge effect because we sold almost everything in four days. This collection is linked to 1932 like the one that took place 10 years ago when Patrice celebrated 1932 for the first time and the one that will take place in 10 years. I think that in 1932, Bijoux de Diamants will be a milestone in the history of jewelry at Chanel. Every 10 years we will enrich this story which was a real scandal at the time, but Gabrielle Chanel was a visionary.

What are women looking for when buying Chanel Haute Joaillerie?

Our clients come for the creation that tells the house of Chanel and its history. They are looking for absolute craftsmanship and for sure the most unique gems. We have everything at Chanel.

What could you say about the future?

We predict 2023, 2024, 2025 and more. We have the availability to create endlessly, we will continue to add stories and tell the evolution of Haute Joaillerie at Chanel. We will create new collections to nourish the language and codes of Haute Joaillerie at Chanel. Gabrielle Chanel is an infinite source of inspiration.

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