After two years of renovation, Chanel re-opened its iconic address at 18 place Vendôme, 90 years after the inauguration of Bijoux de Diamants, the only High Jewellery Creation collection designed by Gabrielle Chanel in 1932.
Famed architect Peter Marino has revamped the spectacular three-story building for the second time. Defining his concept for the building and its interiors as a combination of “luxe and modernity”, Marino integrated antiques with modern elements to embody a brand that is ever-evolving and spirited.
The three-storey building has seen its retail surface grow from 5,000 to 10,600 square feet chock-full of conversation-starting art pieces.
Chanel moved to this fortress of fine jewellery in 1990 when it opened a boutique devoted to watches. The purchase of the 18th-century mansion followed in 1997 to give a home to the brand’s growing collection.
“In a way, it is a private mansion for Chanel that we will open to the public,” Frédéric Grangié, president of watches and jewellery at Chanel, conveyed to WWD ahead of the opening.
“The flagship at 18 Place Vendôme in the heart of our watches and jewellery creation and a very symbolic address for us due to its history. “It is definitely a unique and extraordinary boutique. There is no other boutique in the world like this,”said Frédéric.
“It is like a Venetian palace, it is simply sublime, there is no equivalent in the world.”
Inside the boutique, the decor aims to embody the house’s class and brilliance. Sleek lines, a refined collection of arts and crafts, and an exceptional savoir-faire have come together to foster a contemporary vision of the private world of Mademoiselle Chanel. By associating various periods and styles, the surroundings are modern, with ornate bronze accents on the tables and window frames, on ornaments of the Louis XV offices and the chandeliers by Goossens.
The colour palette incorporates Chanel’s black, white, cream and gold tones all over the building. In the center, a majestic atrium with gilded walls surrounds Johan Creten’s bronze ‘La Borne’, a symbolic tribute to the Vendôme Column — a monument Marino believed was “as famous as the Eiffel Tower” and as great a symbol for the jewellery world.
Above, a vast mirror reflects the daylight, revealing glimpses of the new floor dedicated exclusively to the Fine Watchmaking collections. Luxe seating occupies quiet corners, while works of art such as a gold-dipped beehive from Sophie Coryndon and antique Japanese flowers in gilded wood dot the spaces.
Apart from expanded retail rooms, the flagship offers an experience for both visitors and clients. “Stepping inside is taking a journey to encounter the house’s creation,” said the executive, classifying the building as a “hub”. Housed under the same roof are the creative studios, which have called the 18 Place Vendôme home since 2012.
Chanel has over 50 stores dedicated to its watches and jewellery worldwide, and the revamped Vendôme flagship will serve as a model for a new chapter in the segment’s retail.