A totemic theme in the Chanel universe, Camellia was as precious to Mademoiselle as it was to Karl Lagerfeld, and Virginie Viard – a lucky charm worked to the point of wonder.
Where does the Camélia Chanel come from?
It was not until the 18th century that the camellia managed to enter Europe. Coming from the Far East, known beyond the Himalayas for millennia already, it was not until the Age of Enlightenment and its opening to the world to see the species bloom on the old continent.
But it is a century later that the perfect harmony of its petals and all the symbolism that it carries in it completes loving def Dandys and other esthetes of the time. So we often refer to La Dame aux Camélias, a famous courtesan immortalized by Alexandre Dumas and then by Verdi in La Traviata, for having made his legend.
And precisely, at the age of thirteen, a certain Gabrielle Bonheur Chasnel fell in awe of the interpretation of Sarah Bernhardt on the boards. The adaptation by Alexandre Dumas Fils of his autobiographical novel, La Dame aux Camélias, where he recounts his unhappy love for the courtesan Marie Duplessis.
Cocotte, Coco surely was. But she had a talent, a vision and something to say. Become Chanel, here she has drawn, once again in the male wardrobe, a well thought out pageantry. A single flower, stitched on the buttonhole of Proust and his dandy friends.
Finally, she would have it, only, because it is very difficult to detect the true from the false in the myth of Coco. However, one thing is certain: one day when she was walking on a beach in Etretat, Chanel decided to pick a camellia to pin it to her waistband.
This idea gained ground and, in 1923, it stung the flower for the first time on the chiffon dress with the sturdy austerity that it had just created. Coco would have fallen in love with the camellia because this flower has “the delicacy of not exhaling any perfume, to better offer women the freedom to choose their own.”
His signature was born. It is then no longer in season without Mademoiselle’s fetish appearing on the Chanel silhouettes. And it is Mr. Lemarié who uses it, with all his talent.
The Camellias Chanel, Lemarié, Karl Lagerfeld And Virginie Viard
Made in tweed, leather, feather, fur, satin and organdy, Lemarié delivers up to 20,000 camellias a year to the home. As a partner yesterday, Lemarié has since joined the ranks of the Chanel group. The Métiers d’Art as composed by Karl Lagerfeld from 2005.
The art of the plumasserie, the confection of flowers in fabric and the sewing being lost then, the iconic director of the house welded around Chanel more than one experts. From Lesage to Lemarié via Goossens.
When the camellia then met Lagerfeld’s couture, it adopts a thousand and one faces. In its immaculate white version, in tweed, or covered with diamonds on a ring, a brooch or a long necklace, the Mademoiselle flower adorns and amazes modernity with an essential presence!
Frozen or recently detachable in the famous Haute Joaillerie line ‘1.5 1 Camellia, 5 Allures’, the lines of the camellia are so perfect for Chanel that they become timeless. In 2012, it was a completely dedicated collection, under the name of Jardin de Camélias, which dazzled the eye with 99 pieces.
And the Haute Horlogerie of the house is also bringing its Première watch into the world of high horological complications by stylizing it in camellia, the First Camellia Skeleton. “Instead of removing the metal, we made the wheels, the bridges part of the design of the camellia, favorite flower of Gabrielle Chanel, whose 60th anniversary we are celebrating this year,” commented Nicolas Beau, in 2017, the international director of Chanel Horlogerie.
Recently, it was during the Haute Couture fashion show presented in Paris in July 2017 that the camellia was once again in beauty… The bride enters the scene in a majestic white double-faced satin dress, adorned with garlands of feathers such bouquets of camellias. The 2019/2020 Métiers d’Art collection by Virginie Viard also drew from the camellia a wildest jacket – all made of camellias, hypnotistically white.