Yes, Chanel did it again! Named after the second Duke of Westminster’s yacht, Flying Cloud is Chanel’s new high Jewellery Collection, inspired by the Mediterranean and its association with the jet-setting elite.
Gabrielle spent many warm days and nights onboard the Flying Cloud, a four-mast, black-hulled, white-decked yacht with a 40-member crew, which belonged to Hugh Grosvenor, the second Duke of Westminster. Her lover and companion for a decade and one of the wealthiest men in the world, he introduced tweed to her, a traditionally masculine fabric she loved immediately and inspired her wicked, iconic women’s suits (it remains a staple in the brand’s creations) and inducted her into the lifestyle of the English aristocracy. Considering how the Duke was one of the most influential figures in Gabrielle’s life, it seemed only natural that a collection that references the sea and resort lifestyle would carry his memory.
[Yes, the affair itself ended badly—there’s a tale about an enormous emerald being cast spitefully into the sea. But among the Duke’s gifts to Chanel was a parcel of land in Roquebrune-Cap Martin on the French Riviera near Monte Carlo. Here, in 1929, the designer built La Pausa, a seven-bedroom, yet monastically simple, home overlooking the sea. The only house she ever conceived from the ground up was where Chanel welcomed her inner circle of friends, including Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau. In 2015, it was repurchased and restored by the company to Chanel’s original specifications, right down to the lavender in the garden.]
Think of Riviera, and in mind comes immediately the Breton-stripe t-shirt, creamy cable-knit jumper, espadrilles-and-a-tan sort. It’s the type of thing Coco Chanel may have worn aboard the Flying Cloud, yes. As for the maison’s new high jewellery collection, unveiled in Paris this summer, oh it’s filled with replete with sailing motifs – anchors, rope, knots, and sailor’s buttons – and yet it manages to avoid being gimmicky or overly thematic, whilst adhering to strict nautical codes.