Last night, I had the privilege of joining Chanel for its pre-opening of the first Chanel Watches & Fine Jewelry Boutique in New York — a star-studded night of cocktails, dinner and entertainment. (Yes the brand has had another boutique in the city for couture, with a few jewels and watches on show, but this store is solely dedicated to jewelry and watches.) Scheduled for full opening on February 9th, 2024, the boutique is designed by the legendary Peter Marino, a seasoned collaborator with Chane. The 3200-square-foot boutique spans two floors and an expansive and exciting decor in black and gold, with crystal and Asian influences — exactly what you would expect from Chanel.
Drawing inspiration from the concept of a golden jewel box on Fifth Avenue, this boutique is a homage to savoir-faire at the esteemed Chanel Watch & Fine Jewelry address at 18 Place Vendôme. Notably, it pays tribute to Gabrielle Chanel, incorporating elements such as her cherished lucky number 5, her love for art, decoration, and the distinctive interiors of her Parisian apartment at 31 Rue Cambon.
In New York, nestled within the Beaux-Arts gilded architecture of the historic Crown Building from 1921, the storefront exudes elegance with honed and grooved black granite, intricate gold bronze screens, and an iron and glass façade. Inside, the ambiance echoes the spirit of 31 Rue Cambon, featuring a refined palette of gold and black, complemented by rock crystal, contemporary and fine art, antiques, and bespoke furniture and lighting.
The boutique’s entrance sets a sophisticated tone (would we expect anything less from Chanel?) with lacquered paneling in black and gold, along with antique wooden lotus bouquets from Japan’s Edo Period. Continuing through the space, the gallery room is adorned with gilded walls illuminated by rock crystal “Dream Catcher” chandeliers. Two Fine Jewelry Salons follow, boasting double-height ceilings, hand-applied coromandel-style wall finishes, an 18-inch-high gilt Regency-era mirror, and a contemporary ebonized wood writing desk.
Past the gallery, the Watch Salon and a captivating staircase lead to the mezzanine floor, featuring custom 24-karat gold balustrades with rock crystal framed plates by Goossens. The mezzanine hosts two more Fine Jewelry Salons, one exclusively for private client appointments, adorned with Tang Dynasty ceramic camels, a Louis XV desk by Jacques Dubois, and modern “Tweed” lamps, creating a blend of modern and ancient art with unparalleled French craftsmanship.
Chanel’s deep connection to the art world is reflected in the carefully curated collection, including works by André Dubreuil, Y.Z. Kami, Louise Nevelson, Anna-Eva Bergman, and Vik Muniz. These pieces add a distinctive artistic touch to the boutique.
Within the Watches and Fine Jewelry Salons, Chanel showcases its signature savoir-faire through an extensive array of pieces from the Fine and High Jewelry, Watches, and Haute Horlogerie collections. Noteworthy collections include Coco Crush, N°5 Fine Jewelry, Camélia, Ruban, and Comète, each capturing the essence of Chanel’s original codes and inspirations.
As part of the Fifth Avenue boutique’s grand opening, Chanel introduces exclusive high jewelry designs and pre-launches. Notable among these is the “Eternal N°5” collection, paying homage to Gabrielle Chanel’s lucky number and the iconic N°5 Perfume. Another highlight is the Lion Solaire de Chanel collection, inspired by Gabrielle Chanel’s Leo star sign. Additionally, the 55.55 masterpiece necklace from the N°5 High Jewelry collection, designed to commemorate the iconic N°5 Perfume’s 100th anniversary, will be showcased at the Fifth Avenue boutique, featuring a flawless 55.55-carat diamond and a cascade of diamonds forming the silhouette of the CHANEL N°5 bottle.
A visit to the boutique is guaranteed to heighten the senses and form a new appreciation (if that is possible) of all things Chanel.