Chanel's New Flagship Contains a 60-Foot Tall Pearl Necklace Sculpture

Iconic.

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Chanel/Sam Frost

This week, Chanel celebrated the opening of its newly designed New York flagship on 57th Street. The new boutique, designed by New York-based architect Peter Marino, is a true reflection of the fashion house's aesthetic: sleek, graphic, and elegant, with the brand's signature black and white color palette framing the space. Four of the store's six stories house Karl Lagerfeld’s designs including ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, costume jewelry, and eyewear as well as watches and fine jewelry and fragrance and beauty. But the pièce de résistance is the 60-foot-tall sculpture of a Chanel pearl necklace that sits (or, falls, rather) in the middle of the space.

Designed by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, the sculpture—crafted from mirrored stainless steel and gilded glass beads—"evokes a strand of timeless pearls, a nod to the pearl necklaces so dear to Mademoiselle Chanel," according to a press release. The whole thing reaches from the top of the fourth floor all the way to the bottom level, suspended from the ceiling at the center of the boutique's staircase.

Chanel/Sam Frost
Chanel/Daniel Infanger
Construction of the necklace.
Daniel Infanger

Othoniel says working with Marino led to a lot of experimentation—which is how this massive piece of art came to be. "When we first met, I was creating works that were 2 or 3 meters high," Othoniel said in the release. "With him they became seven or eight meters high, which was already exceptional. And then we went even further with an 11-meter-high piece for the Chanel boutique in London. In New York, we’ve reached 17 meters. These are major technical feats. To achieve them, I work with an engineer on the distortion of materials, organizing specific pre-assemblies. The work arrives in the boutique at the very last minute–it’s a new challenge each time–you must be able to dismantle it in response to the architectural context. Often, you’re squeezing a monumental sculpture through a tiny door. These technical interrogations are fascinating for an artist, they engender a relationship and a dialogue with the architecture that is truly unique."

Chanel/Sam Frost

In celebration of the flagship, Chanel has launched a capsule of exclusive offerings, including a limited edition 2.55 handbag, limited edition steel Code Coco watch with diamond-set bezel and mirror dial as well as a new scent, Les Exclusifs de Chanel 1957, a layered musk fragrance created by Chanel’s in-house perfumer Olivier Polge. Trés chic.

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