Saturday, March 6, 2021

Fashion Publication - Olivier Theyskens: She Walks In Beauty

'Olivier Theyskens: She Walks In Beauty' is the first complete monograph of the Belgian wunderkind's twenty-year career. The artisanal publication portrays an enriching retrospective from the very start of his career, right up to the highly anticipated 2016 return of his namesake label. Surrounded upon his 2017-18 exhibition in Antwerp's MoMa museum, this tone pays homage to the impassioned exhibiton which featured the 8 landmark stages within his career.

Theyskens 'Gothic Romantic' sensibilities achieved critical acclaim back in the late 1990's from the international fashion circuit. Hailed as the 'Dark Prince Of Couture', his aesthetic has ranged from melancholic to urban-progressive during his revitalisation of Nina Ricci and new vision for Rochas. Several years across the pond acting as the Creative Director of Theyskens’ Theory positioned him within the artisanal fashion scene as a master of couture, prêt-à-porter and a protagonist of the newly emerging 'Demi-Couture' scene. Recognised for his sombre Gothic palette, exquisite tailoring and romantic silhouettes, Theyskens metamorphoses every house he directs.

'Olivier’s Opus ‘She Walks In Beauty’ portrays a poetically haunting, moody and enlightening bound retrospective of his talent. There is no doubt that this book (which is a work of art, in itself) raises the benchmark for a new generation of fashion talent all across the world.' - Charles Daniel McDonald

This treatise charts the double decade development of his exceptional artistic vision which has spanned a multitude of countries and cultures; as he changed the landscape of the fashion industry with his progressive aesthetic. This uniquely commissioned text sews the threads of the designers diverse practice - which is complimented with sketches and photography from each period within his career. Theyskens is most remebered for his ethereal aesthetics at Rochas and Nina Ricci, which at the time broke the norm with their unorthodox silhouettes and practices which saw him blend sheer fabrics and Victorian bustles with contrasting subversive punk elements.

In 2011, he left Paris for New York where his trail-blazing partnership with American brand Theory saw him take over the helm with Theyskens’ Theory. Since 2016, the fashion visionary is firmly estabilshed on Parisien soil with the development of his brand. Just like the girls he designs for, his aesthetic changes - but he walks in beauty wherever he goes.


Olivier Theyskens: She Walks In Beauty

Olivier Theyskens’ dreams were woven in cloth from childhood on: as a child he liked to play with fabrics, haberdashery and old garments. As a designer, Theyskens personifies the poetic spirit, with emphasis on the word’s ambiguous meaning “the capacity to feel and express the beauty of things”, as well as its reference to Ancient Greek etymology, poieisis, the verb poiein that signifies “to make, to create”.

Theyskens had been fascinated by fashion drawings ranging from the 1980's to historical plates from 19th century illustrated fashion journals, but he experienced shock when his vision of splendid gowns with huge trains “in the style of James Tissot” came up against the reality of the bustle dresses he saw in historical costume exhibitions. Similarly, in his own work, the drawing of a silhouette is also the perfect image, the dream, to which the real cloth has to live up to.

As a child prodigy who had taught himself to draw and to sew in his own way, Theyskens carried on his autodidactic approach towards the material into later studies at La Cambre in Brussels, where his teacher nevertheless called him very accomplished and an ancient spirit. His incredible drawings seemed to come from another place and time. He left the school after two years, but today many of his collaborators still date from that time.

'MoMu’s ‘She Walks In Beauty’ exhibition took you on a journey with one of the most entrancing Belgian designers - Olivier Theyskens. This ground-breaking showcase explored the creative evolution of his twenty years in the fashion business, his intricate craftsmanship and the changing atmospheres of his aesthetics through a multitude of silhouettes ingrained with couture spirit.' - Charles Daniel McDonald

His career reads both as a novel and a treatise on the recent changes and state of affairs in the fashion industry. At the start of the 21st century, his work for the revered French houses, Rochas (2003-2006) and Nina Ricci (2006-2009) brought him worldwide fame. He brought the savoir-faire of couture to ready-to-wear collections at these houses and further democratized his vision by becoming artistic director at the American brand Theory (2010-2014), before relaunching his own brand Olivier Theyskens in 2016. Theyskens’ craftsmanship is palpable: he is the rare designer in today’s fashion world gifted with both artistic as well as mathematical precision skills, he is both architect, couturier and stylist.

In showing the half-point of a designers’ career, who, at 40, has worked for 5 labels, MoMu brings the unique perspective of a living designer in a changing fashion world at the brink of the 21st century. The five sequences of Theyskens’ career shape the rhythm of the exhibition, breathing the different atmospheres and attitudes of the Theyskens’ world. Accompanied by poems and literary voices from different eras, walking through the designer’s career becomes a journey through time.

Olivier Theyskens 1997-2002


Olivier Theyskens made his début in 1997 with a participation in the Barclay catwalk in Knokke, Belgium, followed by the Autumn-Winter 1998-99 show in Paris as an independent designer. He was part of the second wave of Belgian designers on the international scene, who were welcomed and reigned over the catwalks with their dark, underground aesthetic. Heralded as the “gothic prince” of fashion, his DNA of dark romanticism, echoes of different periods, specific use of recycled and processed textiles and dramatic silhouettes made him a spotlight favorite. His sensual couture spirit broke away from the typical “Belgian” realism and androgyny in fashion. Nevertheless, the Belgian heritage simmers through in his slightly surrealistic touch, the trompe l’oeil effects of the clothes and the presence of dark skies, clouds and mussels in his sceneries.

Throughout his first collections, we see Theyskens’ DNA appear in his love of dramatic silhouettes often executed in black. Swathes of lace, hook-and-eye closures, corsetry and other antiquated details became the building blocks of his often radical clothes – spliced with black leather and satin, or swimming in delicately destroyed tulle, beading, and feathers. The hook-and-eye closures return in different sizes to mark the body or scar the fabric: treated and exhibited as a jewelry piece they evolved from a delicate “objet trouvé” into a signature element. Corsets are a necessary anchor, a structural foundation to achieve fascinating fullness for the crinoline skirts: “As a child, I thought a full crinoline was the epitome of beauty”, he recalls. His creations swept the likes of Madonna and the Smashing Pumpkins, who wore his dramatic gowns with hedonistic abandon.

'Unquestionably, this is a book that should be read and in some cases should be required reading for those who believe that their future lies in the world of fashion as a real designer and not as an impostor of a designer. Theyskens is every bit as modern as one can conjure and every bit as old school as so many of those who came before him.' - Jeffrey Felner

Black brings out the most sculptural aspects of a silhouette, and the use of different materials and textures renders an all-black silhouette very tactile and sensual. Black fits Theyskens’ oppositional characteristics of mourning and seduction, of romance and rebellion. His aesthetic is that of the veiled eroticism, to be found in the poems of Lord Byron and Charles Baudelaire.

From his first three collections made from vintage and recycled bed linen and upholstery fabrics from Normandy attics, Theyskens makes technical progressions in his mastery of the bias cut, the research into corsetry and crinolines and the reworking and development of materials such as coated silk and leather. In his hands, sensuality and natural grace are translated through close attention to materials and craftsmanship.

Rochas 2003-2006

The haute couture house founded by Marcel Rochas in 1925 was historically focused on fashion and perfume, especially known for the 1946 guêpière corset and the 1944 perfume Femme which was packaged in a cylindrical box covered with black Chantilly lace. The guêpière was a precursor to the success of Dior’s New Look of 1947, when the corseted wasp waist was a symbol of post-war refinement and luxury: the guêpière was less rigid as it combined a bustier, corset, girdle and a garter-holder which followed the movements of the body.

The house of Rochas had been a Sleeping Beauty (from the death of its founder in 1955) mainly selling perfume and beauty products until the late 20th century, when the RTW was launched. When Olivier Theyskens entered the house in 2002, he created a new vision for the Rochas wardrobe in the 21st century. Eschewing his darker tendencies, and demonstrating a discernible rigor, Theyskens managed to give the idea of Rochas form; to take the codes of the cylindrical box and black lace covering of the classic perfume and sculpt it into literal shape. He shrank shoulders and narrowed arms to couture dimensions; added fillips at the hems of little skirt suits and trapeze bustles to the backs of jackets.

‘Gifted with both mathematical and an artistic mindset, Theyskens masters the technique of cutting and understands the fine points of pattern making. He enjoys sewing and endlessly exploring the many equations that exist between volume, fabrics of different textures and weights, and the body that will make It all come to life.’ - Jeffrey Felner

In his silhouettes, Olivier Theyskens built upon the affinity Marcel Rochas felt for Chantilly lace to evoke a sensual, sophisticated femininity. In doing so, he echoed the age-old tradition of using lace for both outer apparel and undergarments and pairing it with silk fabrics in matching or contrasting colors. Chantilly lace motifs were also used in prints on silk fabrics.

In his designs for Rochas, Theyskens revealed the refined character of lace and its connection to French haute couture, as well as its association with an adult, self-aware femininity. His “couture spirit” was called out by the press who dubbed these prêt-à-porter collections “demi-couture”. After a few collections in which he explored the many options of lace, Theyskens emancipated himself from the Rochas DNA and used his new artistic couture techniques to make lighter silhouettes with delicate embroideries and dashes of color which captured the pace of a contemporary body in movement.

Ali Mahdavi

Olivier Theyskens’ meeting and subsequent collaboration with photographer Ali Mahdavi was a happy coincidence, as well as something that seemed inevitable: two artists with an eye for timeless beauty and a love of the surreal, were bound to meet. They met and began working together in the early years of Theyskens’ rise in the world of fashion. Both were enamored of cinematographic light effects, silver gelatin prints and old-fashioned Hollywood glamour with a surrealistic and burlesque twist.

His photographs for Rochas, which are both sensitive and daring because of the play with light and shadow, reinforce the timeless and sometimes surprising beauty of his subjects. By isolating his figures from the often busy backstage surroundings, he increases the intimacy shared between the viewer and the models he photographs.

Julien Claessens

Olivier 4

From their very first meeting at La Cambre in 1995, photographer Julien Claessens was able to capture Theyskens’ world in atmospheric analogue images. Backstage at Nina Ricci, Claessens exchanges his analogue Hasselblad for a digital camera in order to capture the right moment more quickly. The backstage is depicted through the eye of a portrait photographer in filmic images. The models are lonely figures, lost in thought and exhibit inexplicable tranquility in a hectic environment. These images invoke nostalgia for the moments in which they were frozen, and in them, time is indefinable.

Nina Ricci 2007-2009

After his period at Rochas, Olivier Theyskens continued his research into movement and fabrics at Nina Ricci, the haute couture house founded in 1932, famous for its 1948 bestseller perfume L’Air du Temps.

Theyskens developed new treatments and fabrics, and found new solutions for creating the desired cut which followed the movement of the body. Thin, fine, and slightly transparent textiles such as chiffon and tulle flow differently as they catch the air, depending on their density. Other, more fluid fabrics fall more or less rapidly in an almost liquid fashion. Thus they create folds that can vary in fullness. Firmer fabrics, such as taffeta, interact with the light, resulting in a shimmering effect.

'His first collection for Nina Ricci, Autumn-Winter 2007-08, was fueled and directly inspired by the spiraling shape of L’Air du Temps bottle, the brand’s emblematic fragrance. This gave Theyskens an opportunity to explore plasticity while following in the steps of Madeleine Vionnet, the ultimate master of the bias cut.' - MoMa Fashion Museum

Inspired by the world of dance, for Spring-Summer 2009 Theyskens imagined dresses that are short in the front and longer in the back, each with its own way of moving. From floating trains that skim over marked lower back curves to skirts that flow at each step to reveal the legs, the designer exhibits his mastery at choosing the size and placement of every flounce, as well as understanding the specific texture of the chiffon, satin, or tulle that would create the full effect of the animated silhouette he had envisaged.

His Bladerunner-type girls of Autumn-Winter 2009-10 were in tune with the Zeitgeist of the new millennium: hovering above the ground in sky-high boots, they wore futuristic power silhouettes which pointed in a new direction for Theyskens.

Theory 2010-2014

During a time full of turmoil in fashion, when brands were looking for creative directors rather than oldschool designers, Olivier Theyskens took the role of creative director and head designer of the American contemporary brand Theory. He democratized his creations by bringing a sleek, minimal approach to his designs, a tailored wardrobe for the urban working girl: Theyskens’ Theory was launched, and later Theyskens became creative director for the whole brand. At Theory, Theyskens was confronted with new production methods for a larger scale, typical for a brand in the contemporary segment, so he upped the pace of the collections, continuously improving fit and shape in the studio. The different collections show a perfection of tailored suiting and sharp-cut blazers, fused with a sportswear spirit. The lines were easy and supple, an incarnation of movement, weightlessness and elegance.

Wedding Dress Nellie Diamond


After leaving Theory in June of 2014, Theyskens went on a break before starting his own collection in 2016. During this interlude, he sewed a wedding gown by himself for his friend, New York entrepreneur, Nellie Diamond. The dress featured a silk satin train that spread five metres wide and required three months of work before its debut in the South of France. It is the epitome of his sewing skills, patience and eye for detail as well as his romantic mind-set.

Olivier Theyskens NOW

In 2016, Olivier Theyskens made his re-entry on the Paris stage with his own eponymous label. After the multiple stages in both European and American fashion houses, a contemporary vision of his own DNA resurfaces: little black leather dresses framed with lace, tartan coats, bustier tops, bias-cut gowns, and the ever-present hooks-and-eyes closures on shoes, shirts and jackets.

His love for coupe and delicate craftsmanship is present in every creation: the embroideries are sometimes hand-made by Theyskens himself and he is still very intrigued by the possibilities of the material. His childhood’s fascination for 19th century fashion magazines and intricate patterns, both technical as well as ornate, is here mirrored by two patterns for dresses in his recent collections. In these, we recognize the savoir-faire of someone who has never stopped perfecting his early skills, it is a demonstration of the ‘couture spirit’ in a prêt-à-porter brand.

Olivier Theyskens: She Walks In Beauty’ is the first of two monograph’s on Olivier Theyskens. This edition surveys his twenty-year career and documents the highly anticipated return of his eponymous label. Avaliable on Amazon, it was written by Kaat Debo, Vanessa Friedman, Lydia Kamitsis, Wim Mertens and Elisa De Wyngaert.

Friday, March 5, 2021

The Biggest Men's Denim Trends Of Spring/Summer 2021

From season to season, denim is the longstanding leader of the trends board, and with good reason - it's practical and comfortable, with the ability to reinvent itself time and time again. Fashion houses and designers have taken advantage of this star material for Spring/Summer 2021, letting their creativity run wild and creating ever-novel creations.

Within the denim trend itself, there is an entire realm to be discovered. Ultra-faded denim is back in force, now in a tie-dye version - It is the statement piece at Celine by Hedi Slimane - at Ambush, MSGM and Kenzo, the wardrobe essential has been revamped with a wider cut for an effortless style with a greater sense of freedom. Other designers are making their own bold statements and introducing other motifs: Martine Rose has injected its denim trousers with a standout retro floral print, while Louis Vuitton has emblazoned jeans with its signature monogram, as a nod to the brand's heritage. Vogue Hommes has rounded up the best jeans of the season, from Balenciaga to Isabel Marant, not forgetting Gucci, Jacquemus and Sacai.

What Happens To The Very Young, Very Beautiful Star When The Movie Is Over?

“To put your eyes on beauty is to put your eyes on death,” says film director Luchino Visconti in a new documentary from Sweden spotlighting the predatory nature of the celebrity machine. Directed by filmmakers-cum-journalists Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri, The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is a bleak yet stirring portrait of Björn Andrésen, whose life changed almost overnight 50 years ago when Visconti declared him, then 15, “the most beautiful boy in the world.”

The venerated Italian filmmaker cast Andrésen as Tadzio, the embodiment of youthful pulchritude in his 1971 film about exquisite beauty, forbidden desire, and aging, Death in Venice. (“His face recalled the noblest moment of Greek sculpture,” wrote Thomas Mann of the character in his novella, from which the film was adapted, “pale, with a sweet reserve, with clustering honey-colored ringlets, the brow and nose descending in one line, the winning mouth, the expression of pure and godlike serenity.”) The young Andrésen was the fifth boy Visconti saw while casting in Stockholm, during a search that crossed years and countries, and he is breathtaking when you first see him drift onscreen in Death in Venice, angelic wings of blond hair framing his blinking, fawnlike face. You almost can’t help but wonder: What became of that arresting youth?

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World opens with shots from that casting room, the moment that Andrésen’s life changed. Plucked from his grandmother’s cabin in the Swedish countryside, he finds himself on set in Venice, where he says Visconti gave him essentially only four directions: go, stop, turn around, and smile. After the film’s release, he’s thrust into a whirlwind of publicity with premieres in London (with Queen Elizabeth in attendance) and at Cannes, “when the real circus started,” as he puts it. He was terrified by the swarm of attention and the overnight superstardom, calling it “a living nightmare.” In the years that followed, Andrésen would find great fame in Japan, where, in short order, he became the country’s first idol from the West, recording pop songs in Japanese and appearing in candy commercials, his face inspiring a generation of manga artists.

But the film eventually takes its viewers to a very different place. Now in his 60s, Andrésen lives in virtual squalor in a cramped Stockholm apartment. With flowing grey tresses and a beard covering half his face like a rock-god Gandalf, he seems to intentionally obscure the comeliness that made him an international celebrity. (In a small but memorable role in Midsommar he cut a very different profile from his youthful endeavors.) The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is one of the few documentaries to dwell so gravely and persuasively on how sudden fame can ruin a young life, bypassing any perks of stardom. Andrésen’s discomfort as a teenage boy—half-naked in front of Visconti in the casting room, doing press at Cannes, on TV show sets in Japan—is palpable.

Weaving effectively between archival material and the present, the film unfolds with surprising poignancy as it sketches Andrésen's remarkable but tragic path, studded with trauma and tragedies both in and out of the limelight. Many experiences are left gently unfilled—at a gay club on the French Riveria where drinks flowed, in Paris apartments supplied by shadowy men, onstage in Japan after he’s given unidentified pills to put him at ease. And yet, the suggestion is enough. That this story of objectification centers on a man makes it more uncommon but no less poignant.

We finally witness Andrésen’s return to Venice in the present day, stalking the beach where he once twirled in Technicolor wearing a boater and Edwardian bathing suit. How much has truly changed for young, vulnerable actors in the intervening five decades is yet unclear. The Most Beautiful Boy in the World premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has been acquired by Juno Films for distribution.

Maxime Simoëns Relaunches Eponymous Label

Maxime Simoëns is pressing reset. The Paris-based designer is relaunching his eponymous label with a coed line for fall 2021. Aiming to celebrate gender fluidity, the casual collection mixes its styles. Wide pants and check shirts are taken from the masculine wardrobe and mixed with elements inspired by school uniforms, prints evoking faraway planets and the sky at night and floral prints and embroideries referencing Russian folk art. With a nod to sustainable fashion, the collection includes a series of numbered, mainly denim pieces upcycled from the designer’s archives.

Simoëns shuttered his women’s line after five years in 2015 and parted ways with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which had invested in his label. During that time, his sexy, graphic dresses garnered a strong following among the celebrity set, and he showed either on the ready-to-wear or couture calendar in Paris, depending on the season. In June 2016, he created urban men’s label MX Paris, which last presented for spring 2020. He was also artistic director for Azzaro between 2017 and 2019, and subsequently designed for Paule Ka for a single season.

A Pair Of Louis Vuitton Sneakers By Virgil Abloh Is Up For Auction At Sotheby's.

Since its first appearance in SS 2019, the silhouette LV Trainer by Louis Vuitton became the signature sneaker designed by Virgil Abloh for the French house, making the model desirable for all sneaker addicts. In November 2020, the designer revisited his iconic “LV Trainer” sneakers in collaboration with the NGO (RED) to help the fight against AIDS, which each sold raising 200 dollars for the Global Fund to fight AIDS.

Sotheby's is auctioning a prototype of the sneaker made in Italy, in red on white leather, which references the name and color of the signature (RED). In size 43 and hand-dedicated by Virgil Abloh, this collector's dream has already reached the reserve price of 30,000 dollars. Of course, it is sold in support of the charitable organization, (RED). If you are interested: Hurry up, there is only one day left to place your bid on Sotheby's.

Benetton Unveils Sustainable Store In Florence

United Colors of Benetton is introducing a new store concept in Florence, which chief executive officer Massimo Renon hailed as “unique in the world and setting the benchmark for the future of retail.”

The flagship marks a new phase for the company, Renon said. “We could have opened it anywhere but choosing Florence has a highly symbolic, almost romantic value, since it’s the city of the Renaissance — one that we see for the brand, too. In addition, Florence has strong links with fashion, from housing the headquarters of Pitti Immagine to those of brands including Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo.”

Renon was previously CEO at Marcolin, joining Benetton in April last year. Past experiences include executive positions at the eyewear division of Kering Group, Safilo, Ferrari and Luxottica.

Touting Benetton’s potential, Renon said he has also been impressed by the “enormous manufacturing power” and the company’s massive retail network, counting 5,000 stores in the world. That said, since his arrival, he has been streamlining the retail chain, closing some underperforming stores, especially outside Italy. He underscored, however, that the company is planning to further develop business and is not on the retreat, on the contrary mapping out the opening of more directly operated stores.

Covering 1,728 square feet over one floor, the Florence boutique, opposite the Santa Maria Novella train station, makes abundant use of upcycled natural materials. The floor is made with gravel from the river Piave in the Veneto region, which houses the Benetton headquarters, as well as waste wood from beech trees knocked down by the destructive Vaia storm that hit the region in 2018. Future store openings will be modeled after this blueprint, Renon said.

The walls are treated with a mineral paint, which have antibacterial and anti-mold properties that can also reduce pollutants in the environment.

The interiors are made with new materials created from textile industry scraps. Platforms and bases of the display stands are made with a compound created from used buttons, which Renon said are generally difficult to dispose of, mixed in hydro-resin.

Recycled wool in its raw wick state is reused in the design of the perimeter lining and as decoration for the curtains of the dressing rooms.

Shelves, display bases and mannequins are made in “rossino,” which is a material created from upcycled, mixed textile fibers.

The Florence boutique uses 20 percent less energy than a standard store. A system based on small sensors, artificial intelligence and data analysis maximizes the energy efficiency, automatically adjusting store temperature based on the amount of customers in the store.

Renon also pointed to the sustainability of garments in organic, recycled or Better Cotton Initiative cotton, regenerated nylon, or natural fibers such as linen.

Shopping bags are in either washable, easily recyclable organic cotton bags or in paper bags made with materials sourced from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests.

“Customers really want to know about the clothes, where they come from; they check the labels and their traceability,” Renon said.

Renon trumpeted Benetton’s longstanding efforts in terms of sustainability. “Green, digitalization and product are the pillars we are building our future upon,” he said.

In 2017, Benetton Group was the first European fashion company to join the International Wool Textile Organization and it has also been a member of the BCI, the world’s largest program dedicated to the sustainability of cotton, since that year.

The goal is by 2025 for the collections to contain only 100 percent sustainable cotton. The company procures organic cotton from certified supply chains, and recycled cotton comes from pre-consumption scraps (remains from production) and post-consumption scraps (finished fabrics and pieces at the end of their life cycles).

All United Colors of Benetton garments in recycled cotton contain at least 20 percent recycled cotton, sourced from certified supply chains.

In 2017, the group obtained the Responsible Down Standard certification and since then it has been part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the largest sustainable production alliance. As a member of the SAC, Benetton Group has adopted the Higg Index, a means of measuring a company’s sustainability performance and involving suppliers in a process of continuous improvement relating to environmental management systems, the use of water and energy, atmospheric emissions and the use of chemicals.

In 2020, for the second year in a row, the brand achieved the highest score among all Italian brands and was placed among the top 10 globally of the Fashion Transparency Index. Among the categories analyzed by the index, traceability is the one in which Benetton excelled with a score of 73 percent, the fourth best result worldwide.

Renon touted Benetton’s “incredible brand awareness,” and he believes that the label reminds customers of “quality, comfort and values.” With the help of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who was named artistic director in 2018, the company has been rejuvenating its product offer, with a fashion edge, working to attract a young customer and modernize its image, creating “quality and comfortable products with the right positioning,” Renon said. In fact, with de Castelbajac, Benetton held its first runway show in February 2019 in Milan. The brand skipped Milan Fashion Week this season, but Renon said the designer is preparing a capsule collection to be launched shortly.

The designer was tapped by Luciano Benetton, who returned to helm his family-owned firm in January 2018. As reported, in December, Benetton launched its new online store and website. The brand’s e-commerce tripled its business in the past 12 months, Renon said. While the company is mapping out a physical return to the U.S., the region is a strong online business, the executive said.

Chanel Marks No.5 Perfume With 55.55-Carat Diamond Necklace

It’s a necklace that money can’t buy. Chanel will offer fans an eyeful, however, of an extravagant piece of high jewelry, made in homage to the house’s famed No.5 perfume, which marks its centenary this year. Built around an emerald cut, octogonal diamond, the jewelry piece evokes the shape of the scent’s signature bottle — cut to weigh exactly 55.55 carats.

“For Chanel, the design and production of this necklace represents a decisive and major step in the history of fine jewelry. By joining our Patrimoine at 18 Place Vendôme rather than being sold, this necklace will forever bear witness to this chapter in the history of Chanel fine jewelry,” said Frédéric Grangié, Chanel watches and jewelry president.

In recent years, digital channels have tightened their grip on consumers, even the world’s wealthiest, and the trend has been exaggerated by coronavirus lockdowns. This has prompted a frenzy among Place Vendôme jewelers to build increasingly lavish flagships and draw up ever-richer collections of jewelry to stand out in a field crowded with choices.

With international travel on hold, many high jewelry collections have been shipped to consumers abroad — to Asia in particular — and the necklace may be exhibited in other markets, and play a role in events held in other parts of the world.

“It will constitute, for our clients and our press, an eternal and visible symbol of the unfailing links that unite Place Vendôme and the No.5 perfume,” added Grangié.

The No.5 perfume was concocted in 1921, by Ernest Beaux and Gabrielle Chanel. The designer made her one foray into high jewelry 11 years later, with a collection of platinum and gold diamonds, called “Bijoux de Diamants.” With the 55.55 necklace, the house is seeking to bridge the two milestones.

“Gabrielle Chanel approached these two universes with the same visionary values, focusing on audacity and the quest for excellence. I wanted to rediscover that creative gesture with this collection,” said Patrice Leguéreau, director of Chanel’s jewelry creation studio.

He started with a rough diamond, with the quest of cutting it into a perfect octagonal shape, weighing exactly the symbolic 55.55 carats. The D flawless diamond is surrounded by 104 round diamonds and 42 baguette diamonds. The necklace re-creates the profile of the perfume bottle stopper and the bottle’s shape, before spilling into a cascade of pear-sharped diamonds of varying sizes, lending an abstract style to the piece.