OPERATION CODE COCO

OPERATION CODE COCO

The House of Chanel possesses a peculiar talent of playing with codes. In 1921, Mademoiselle Chanel was daring enough to name her first perfume N°5, and released a revolutionary bottle in comparison to the very intimost famous piece of the House without ever having a name. It was only in the 1990s that it was referred to as 2.55 and its birthidating world of perfumery in which she was born. In 1955, the padded bag ornate with an adjustable chain became the m certificate appeared in a 1996 edition of L’Officiel.

The latest to create a stir, this time with a name though, is a watch that’s taking the role of a special agent, and has a certain mystery about it. But is it only just a watch?

SHE KNOWS HER GREAT ANCESTORS AND IS SURE TO REVEL IN HER TRUE NATURE

The impression that one has about an exquisite piece of watch has been surpassed. Its chain-link steel bracelet, in its iconic criss-cross pattern, the discretion of its miniature dials of black lacquer, ornate with a princess cut diamond (there is also a version in which the glass of the dial is set with 52 brilliant cut diamonds. These are the characteristics that make it an ornament that tells time.

Zooming in, we recognise, at the heart of the dial, the pivoting clasp of the 2.55 bag that Chanel called the Mademoiselle. Created in the ateliers of Châtelainin La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland, it would most certainly have pleased Gabrielle Chanel, someone who was known for her love of watches.

SHE IS THE YOUNGER OF TWO SIBLINGS

The birth of this watch coincides with the 30-year anniversary of her elder brother, the Première watch. It was conceived in 1987 by Jacques Helleu, after Gabrielle Chanel’s disappearance in 1971. It opened the first chapter in the history of the House of Rue Cambon and his watchmaking career. At the same time, the first boutique dedicated to watchmaking was inaugurated on Avenue Montaigne.

Created exclusively for women, this watch reprises the shape of the stopper to a bottle of N°5 and was incarnated by Inès de La Fressange. In the year 2000, J12, an explosive black ceramic watch came out in the market. The shock response was guaranteed. Three years later, J12 was created in a white avatar of immaculate opalescence. The next to come was J12 tourbillon in 2005, followed by the Rétrograde Mystérieuse five years later. And the party goes on with Mademoiselle Privé that made its appearance in 2012 along with Boy.Friend, well-suited to the androgynous vibe of its era (2015). Finally, it was time for Monsieur de Chanel to make an appearance in 2016.

Code Coco follows suit. Just as her name indicates, and has an intelligence that her ancestors have passed down. Code Coco succeeds in concentrating time, while laying testament to it, down to the second.

SHE IS THE ICON OF A GANG OF SUPERGIRLS

At the headquarters of Rue Cambon, in the heart of the 1st arrondissement of Paris, Virginie Viard, director of the fashion studio of Chanel and the ‘left and right hands’ of Karl Lagerfeld for almost 20 years now, has called upon her band of very special agents. 

There was also confidential meeting at Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment between Lucia Pica, global creative designer for makeup, Kim Young-Seong, creative director for textiles, Agnès Liely, in-charge of creation, décor development and merchandising, including musician and model Alice Dellal, director Deniz Gamze Ergüven, model Stella Tennant, comedians Anna Mouglalis and Alma Jodorowsky. Each of them had a common denominator: they were all a part of the team involved in the infiltration of Code Coco. Rock ‘n’ roll, artsy, bohemian, bourgeoise, intellectual, each with their specific set of skills at the service of Code Coco and as Virginie Viard said, “At Chanel, one code always leads us to another.” And at that precious moment an-open minded, aesthetically sound, contemporary, hightech and cultured fashion movement saw the light of day.

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.