Chanel Unveils Stunningly Remodeled 18 Place Vendôme Boutique

It’s been ninety years since Coco Chanel debuted Bijoux de Diamants, her first ever High Jewelry collection. Two years earlier, the historic 18th Century structure at 18 Place Vendôme, which the designer was known to very much admire, was officially listed at a Historic Monument.

The circle was completed when the House of Chanel purchased the building in 1997, and then opened it ten years later as its flagship jewelry and watch boutique, designed by exalted American architect Peter Marino.

This week, following a year-long remodel, once again lorded over by Marino, the space has been reopened – and the first images reveal it to be a masterstroke of cultivated, understated luxury. One is first greeted at the entrance by a specially designed console courtesy of Delos & Ubiedo, as well as British artist Idris Khan‘s 2012 work Eternal Movement, ideally setting the stage for what is to follow. Striking, openwork screens in hammered bronze section off the boutique into several different “salons.”

Black lacquer walls and woven gold relief motifs, as well as Coromandel Chinoiserie screens are meant to directly invoke Coco’s legendary 31 rue Cambon apartment. But not at all meant as a kind of period / nostalgia trip, here gilded bronze accents and Louis XV details blend seamlessly with contemporary Goossens chandeliers.

The central focus of it all is the soaring, gilded atrium, which houses Johan Creten’s bronze, three-meters-tall La Borne sculpture, intended to reference the spectacular Vendôme column on the famous square just outside, decisively uniting the Chanel boutique with its storied address. A massive mirror above reflects daylight into the space.

If that weren’t enough luxe eye candy, even the elevator interior is a visual feast, decorated as it is with facsimiles of three masterpieces by Picasso: Still Life With a Violin, Seated Man Reading a Newspaper, and Man with an umbrella reading a journal. And in proper tribute to the founder of the House, Los Angeles based artist Joel Morrison was commissioned to create a one-of-a-kind silver steel ‘Coco Chandelier’ sculpture.

Of course, shopping for Chanel High Jewelry is a rarefied experience unto itself, and such an experience surely demands a properly illustrious setting. Hardly a surprise that Monsieur Marino was once again eminently up to the task.

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