Chanel Reinterprets Its Iconic Tweed for an Exquisite High Jewelry Collection
Master craftsmen render the house’s signature fabric by seemingly weaving together precious stones
No one does tweed quite like Chanel. Once considered a utilitarian fabric, tweed has been elevated to couture’s highest realms by the maison, which rendered the nubby weave in sumptuous materials, wide-ranging color combinations, and irreverent designs. Yet no iteration has been quite as glamorous—or sparkled quite as brightly—as Chanel’s recently introduced high-jewelry collection inspired by the traditional textile.
The 63 pieces included in the new Tweed de Chanel array tap into the same imaginative spirit that prompted Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel to execute her decadent remake of the classic fabric in the 1920s. After spending time roaming the Scottish countryside in the borrowed tweed jackets of her paramour, the Duke of Westminster, she reimagined those warm and woolly textiles in countless palette options, keeping the sportiness but bringing her own touch of elegance to create a timeless look that is still riffed upon on the house’s runway a century later.
Tweed may seem like an improbable inspiration for one-of-a-kind examples of high jewelry, but at Chanel, its intrinsic symbolism made for rich creative ground. “From the beginning, my dream was to create the most precious tweed possible with the most precious materials,” says Patrice Leguéreau, director of the Chanel Fine Jewelry Creation Studio, who used the same source material for an equally impressive collection in 2020.
But how does one even begin to fashion diamonds, emeralds, and rubies into tweed? “My approach was very broad, more than something very precise or technical,” he explains. To understand the fabric, Leguéreau drew on what he learned during his first meeting at Maison Lesage, the storied embroidery house that works with Chanel to create its tweed, when he started at Chanel 15 years ago. “There are a lot of small elements that have to be adjusted and combined to create the illusion that it is a real piece of fabric,” Leguéreau says of the technically rigorous process. The results are earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings that are lightweight, flexible, and equally beautiful on the back and the front, a mark of expert workmanship.
Tweed de Chanel has five distinct interpretations, each representing a house code made iconic by Coco Chanel: a white ribbon, a pink camellia, a comet against a navy sky, a yellow sun, and a lion adorned with red. Standout iterations include the Tweed Royal necklace, an intricate weaving of diamonds, rubies, and gold chains accented by a 10.17-carat, pear-shaped diamond and a diamond lion head, which can be detached and worn as a brooch. The Tweed Icône Étoile ring presents a denser design of yellow gold, diamonds, sapphires, and onyx, with an 8.36-carat, cushion-cut sapphire as its focal point with star shapes that nod to the first and only high-jewelry collection Coco Chanel created, in 1932, which included celestial comet motifs.
“My dream was to create the most precious tweed possible with the most precious materials”Patrice Leguéreau
“I really wanted to continue the story of comfort, stability, richness—all these attributes that create the tweed,” says Leguéreau. And there’s no doubt he has.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2023 Winter Issue under the headline “Precious Materials.” Subscribe to the magazine.