Buro 24/7 Interview: Benjamin Comar, Chanel Jewellery Director
Exploring Les Perles de Chanel...
Not only did Chanel bring its Cruise collection fashion the to region this week, but the brand's iconic high jewellery collection, 'Les Perles de Chanel' was also introduced to the Middle East's style editors at an exclusive preview event.
Truly one of the most symbolic elements to the Chanel identity due to Coco Chanel's affection for them, pearls are synonymous with the label. Since its creation earlier this year, this particular haute jewellery collection has been travelling around the world, spending the rest of the month of May in Dubai.
Buro 24/7 sits down with Mr Benjamin Comar, International Jewellery Director at Chanel, to find out more:
Tell us about the Les Perles de Chanel and how the collection is different from the classic Chanel pearls of the past.
First of all, we haven't had a pearl collection for eight years, and what we wanted to do here was adjust people's mind-set to the way in which they perceive pearls, they don't have to be associated with your grandmother. This collection is sensual and comfortable, and ultimately contemporary
Where does Chanel source its pearls?
A real mix depending on the size and colour. Black pearls from Tahiti. South Sea coloured pearls from Australia, small pearls from China and the aqua colour pearls are from Japan.
Dubai has a rich history in pearl diving, is this something that has ever been incorporated into the work of Chanel?
Well not as such, but actually there is a reason why we brought it here. We know that there is a huge culture of pearls here and I actually learned that after visiting a recent exhibition in Doha. The culture of pearls is really international.
How do pearls differ from other gemstones?
You have to actually wear them! It's a fact that if pearls are in contact with the skin they will look better, it keeps them shining.
Coco Chanel's affiliation with pearls is a signature element to the brand, is there a particular point/fact we may not know about that?
Well with this collection we have revisited so many symbols of Gabrielle Chanel's influence. From black and white, to stars and the lion - plus baroque elements that she loved, too. I like the 'Perles de Nuit' necklace, the black festive piece.
"I think the women here are very knowledgeable about jewellery"
How closely do you work with the fashion and beauty teams to create one brand voice?
Well the timeframe is so different. We take two years to make a collection where they turn it around in a matter of months. We always look to incorporating elements that are similar in the case of the iconic symbols, for example, however we really are quite different.
How do you feel about the jewellery traditions of Arabian women?
I think that Emirati women love jewellery – and mainly that they like more of it. I think the women here are very knowledgeable about jewellery but honestly we cannot tell which pieces will be popular in different countries, it's a personal thing and different pieces speak to different types of women.
What do you see happening next for the world of Chanel jewellery?
We have a big exhibition in Paris happening in July with the new collection called Café Société - it is focussed on Coco Chanel's life in the 1920s and quite artistic. Quite different from pearls...