It is a truth universally acknowledged that The Recessionista adores Chanel. I’ve written about my eternal (and sometimes epic) quest for Chanel for less many times. I am a collector and lover of Chanel. My Chanel jackets, sweaters and even shoes have been purchased at various consignment stores (special love to Tatiana New York for the good deals on Chanel!) However, every now and then, I do make a purchase at a Chanel store, if the item is irresistible, and the price is what I call “Coco friendly.” Due to the often high prices (thousands sometimes) on Chanel, I categorize “Coco friendly” as under $400.00. Sightings of the “Coco friendly” are rare, but they do happen. Witness the new Chanel Camellia Flower Pendants in white and black pictured above. These are just in at the Chanel boutique and are priced at $300.00 US. Je t’adore! I made the purchase on the spot, knowing full well, that I will be wearing this over and over as I have my Chanel pearls (Coco splurge) and my Camellia crystal earrings (Coco friendly.) These pendants come in black and white, and the chain is adjustable so you can wear the Camellia short (close to the neck) or long. To me, this simple and elegant pendant is more much chic than the large “Bib” jeweled necklaces that are now in vogue and retailing for hundreds of dollars.
If you don’t know about Coco Chanel and her beloved Camellia flowers, let me tell you a little of the story based on my study of her collections and the biographies I have read. Coco loved the roundness of the Camellia petals and their elegance. If memory serves me correctly, Chanel adopted the Camellia as one of her trademark touches in 1925. There was also a romantic connection for Chanel to the flower. It has been said that the flower was first given to her by her great love, Arthur “Boy” Capel who financed her designs back when she was making hats. Of course, Capel died in a car accident in 1919, which left Chanel devastated and her grief may even have intensified her love of the Camellia flower because of the bittersweet reminder it held for her. The Camellia that Chanel loved was the white flower, although Chanel makes Camellia flower pins, rings and jewelry in white and black. Coco Chanel started using a white Camellia flower crafted from fabric on a pin as an accessory to be worn on a jacket or bag. Her thinking was that a natural flower as an added touch would be bring more simple elegance than dozens of tiny frills, artificial embellishments or lace. She was right.
I made my Chanel purchase at the Chanel store on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles yesterday.The sales staff was so friendly and accomodating that it was a pleasure to be in the store. (I can’t say the same about visits to Louis Vuitton in Beverly Hills.) Above is a picture of the Robertson store, which is open to the street, without the barricade of glass windows or doors. I think Coco Chanel would love this. After all she said, “A fashion that does not reach the streets is not a fashion.” With the Roberston store design, her fashions truly reach the street and the price on her Camellia pendant make her fashion very accessible for Mother’s Day gift giving, or even as a special recessionista treat.
Upon leaving Chanel with my new ebony Camellia pendant, I was reminded of a valuable lesson, sometimes it is worth investing a little extra in an item of quality that can be worn for years. This morning, I’ll be returning some budget designer items because they can’t hold a candle to my new Chanel pendant. I’d rather have a good Chanel item (at a Coco friendly price) than poorly made, polyester junk and “pleather” goods from some of the big box retailers. There’s something to be said for quality and customer service, sometimes that is worth a bit extra. Especially when it comes in a black Chanel box and a classy shopping bag with a recessionista friendly paper Camellia flower lovingly affixed.