For a fashion house that built its empire by continually reinterpreting tweed, it’s surprising that this year marks the first time Chanel has used the Scottish wool fabric as inspiration for an entire high-jewellery collection. Each piece is inspired by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s favorite threads; a highlight of the collection, the £500,000-plus Tweed d’Or necklace, features interwoven stones set in lattices of platinum, white gold and yellow gold. It appears to curve around the neck like a gem-set cuff of fabric fastened by a 20.4-carat, oval-cut imperial topaz “button”—a clever nod to the Parisian house’s most iconic design.
Coco Chanel’s long affair with the material began in the 1920s, when she became enamored of the fishing and hunting jackets worn by her lover, the Duke of Westminster. Her tweed creations hit icon status during the ’50s, freeing ladies from the era’s waist-clinging designs and cementing a style that has remained relevant well beyond her lifetime. Mademoiselle Chanel created only one high-jewellery collection in her lifetime—a 1932 offering of diamond-encrusted pieces, with gems borrowed from the Union of Diamond Merchants—so even she might have been astonished by the lofty heights to which her interpretation of the heavy wool fabric has risen.