Through a series of short films, the website “Inside Chanel” looks back at the story of Gabrielle Chanel and the iconic creations that generated a legend and built the House of Chanel. For Chapter 16, the Chanel ‘The Camellia’ reveals all of the anecdotes around design icon’s favorite flower. Told from the flower’s perspective, it was love at first sight when 13-year-old Gabrielle watched Sarah Bernhardt’s Lady of the Camellias performance.

A symbol of purity and longevity in Asia, this delicate bloom inspired Mademoiselle Chanel who, from 1923, incorporated this key element into her style. Whether pinned on a garment, adorning a hairstyle, engraved on the buttons of a suit, embroidered or a lace motif, the camellia became one of her signature emblems.

Today it remains, like the comet or the lion, an essential creative element at the Maison.

Because she appreciated its delicate elegance, Mademoiselle Chanel made the camellia her favorite flower and has become the emblematic motif and the brand’s signature. The flower’s almost geometrical roundness and the arrangement of its petals in perfect regularity represent a symbol of absolute beauty. Often reinvented but always unique, the camellia today lends its curves to the most audacious creations. Its full yet ethereal lines, set with diamonds or colored stones, reach fruition in jewelry of exquisite femininity.