Patrice Leguéreau has designed a various vary of items since he grew to become the director of Chanel’s Effective Jewellery Artistic Studio in 2009, however they all the time begin with the identical inspiration: the designs, way of life and character 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 just lately renovated boutique devoted to Chanel’s high-quality jewellery and watches.
“Typically I’m impressed by Gabrielle Chanel herself: her life, her mates, her residences,” he added, “or typically solely by a really sturdy graphic icon, like camellia or the lion. The inspiration comes from totally 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 friends. (Some items from the road had 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 change into well-known for, it was undeniably luxurious however lacked formality and fuss.
“She wished to do in jewellery the identical factor that she did in style, which meant that the items ought to be very wearable,” mentioned Fabienne Reybaud, who wrote a quantity on Chanel’s high-quality jewellery and watches that’s a part of a three-part compendium on the model printed by Assouline.
With the gathering, Ms. Chanel primarily opened the door for style homes to create their very own excessive jewellery strains.
“She disturbed, and he or she 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 characterize 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 contains 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 centered and extra concentrated.”
Mr. Leguéreau oversees the design of Chanel’s excessive jewellery and in addition its much less rarefied high-quality jewellery. Through the years, his collections have included extremely recognizable model motifs, together with particulars that recommend the model’s bouclé jackets and the matelassé quilting of its distinctive purses.
“He creates jewellery the place you may know that it’s by Chanel,” Ms. Reybaud mentioned.
“It’s sort of like omni-channel advertising and marketing,” mentioned Christopher Olshan, chief govt of the Luxurious Advertising and marketing 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 high-quality jewellery and watches in cities like London, New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Mr. Leguéreau mentioned that he doesn’t work straight with the designers of Chanel’s different classes, however he felt an affinity with them. “Now we have all a pure connection collectively, as a result of the Chanel identify, 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. With regards to his private life, he’s guarded.
Born in Paris and raised between the town and France’s Burgundy area, he gained’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 immediately, since sketching is an integral a part of the best way he designs. He additionally acquired a love of sports activities that continues to be — he has run marathons in Paris and New York, as an example, 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 taken with 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 couple of mile northwest of the place he works immediately.
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 up to date and fashionable merchandise,” he mentioned. “That offers extra space to create. The spirit could be very, very totally 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 one hundredth anniversary of Bijoux de Diamants.
“I’ve began excited about the best way I might have a good time this assortment in 10 years,” he mentioned, “to proceed to be totally different, to shock and to create one thing new and fashionable.”