updated 24 Dec 2010, 14:46
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Sun, Mar 21, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
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Soft rock
by Clara Chow

In 1932, upon the launch of her first fine jewellery collection, Mademoiselle Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel pronounced: 'I want my jewels to fit like ribbons on a woman's finger.'

Almost eight decades later, the French house's 2010 haute joaillerie collection has taken that statement and twisted it to greater effect.

The Ruban (French for 'ribbon') theme in the collection features rosettes made of diamonds and white gold.

Noting this beautiful irony, Frederic Bocquillon, Chanel's regional general manager of watches and fine jewellery, says: 'These pieces are sculpted from the hardest of materials to translate and bring a feminine, ultra fluid and soft motif to the high jewellery world.'

To mimic the suppleness and shine of satin ribbons, these pieces are set with stones of different sizes.

The precious metal setting is kept deliberately light and thin to seem invisible, with open-work craftsmanship on the back of the pieces so as not to distract from the diamonds.

Even the 'hidden' parts on the inner loops of the ribbons are studded carefully with gems and each 'ribbon' is lined with a fine row of black diamonds that represents meticulous hand stitches.

The Ruban pieces are part of a free exhibition called 18 Vendome of over 70 high jewellery items.

It is on at the Chanel Fine Jewellery boutique at 01-04 Takashimaya Shopping Centre until March 30.

While the brand does not say how much the total bling on display is worth, prices for individual designs range from $46,000 to $2.5 million.

Singapore is the touring exhibition's second stop after its debut in Paris last year.

Bocquillon says this has to do with the success of the year-old Takashimaya store, as well as its soon-to-open fashion boutique in Marina Bay

Sands and a watch boutique in Resorts World Sentosa.

He adds that while luxury goods consumption was hit in the earlier half of last year, Chanel's watches and fine jewellery segment enjoyed a good year in the Asia-Pacific region, thanks to a 'very strong second semester'.

Besides the Ruban theme, the exhibition also draws on Chanel motifs such as tweed (which is reinterpreted in diamonds for a dressy bracelet watch and ring), Coco's favourite wheat sheaf and fountains.

A Premiere range features a necklace and watch bracelet, with baguette-cut diamonds and onyx, influenced directly by the octagonal shape of the Place Vendome.

Bocquillon says of the motifs in the collection: 'Just as the 2.55 bag, tweed suit, two-toned shoes and Coco Chanel's first Bijoux�de�Diamants collections - with its iconic Comete, Fontaine and Ruban pieces - transcend time, styles and trends, these icons are simple and yet hold such meaning to different individuals. They are part of the story of Chanel.'

This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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