The Story Behind the Camellia

25 – Number of petals needed to create the iconic Camellia.

1913 – The Camellia made it’s first appearance.

31 – Rue Cambon. The blossoms found a home on the black-and-gold-laquered Coromandel screens in her apartment.

Camellias originate in eastern and southeast Asia and are most revered in that region. For instance, in Korea, they are a symbol of longevity and faithfulness, making them a popular choice at weddings. In the West, they have come to symbolise desire, passion, and refinement. Known for its perfect symmetry it evokes feelings of everlasting beauty which are some of the traits that attracted Chanel to this iconic flower.

The Camellia flower is synonymous with Chanel. It is a motif that appears on packaging, bags, clothing, jewellery and shoes. It was Coco Chanel’s favourite flower allegedly, Chanel was given her first bouquet of camellias by her polo-playing lover, Boy Capel. She started pinning silk versions to her lapels, her hair. The camellia flower is reinvented in many timeless forms within the Chanel collection, either as silk brooch, leather appliqué or gold plated. Sometimes these are hidden in engraved buttons on jackets and shirts. We love the way Coco’s personal touch is always being reinterpreted.

Camellias come in array of colours but the purity of the white Camellia is most commonly associated with the house of Chanel. The camellia has inspired many artists, like author Alexandre Dumas, who wrote La Dame aux Camélias, or The Lady of the Camellias, which in turn inspired Italian composer to create his famous opera, La Traviata.