Gray tweed, tucked in the belt of a houndstooth jacket. Ivory chiffon dotting a headband. A diamond ring.
These are only a few of the camellias you’ll spot lurking on pieces of Chanel attire. And once you spot one, you’ll never miss another again. But just why was Gabrielle Chanel so obsessed with these gorgeous little blooms? Some draw it back to Sarah Bernhardt, decked out in a diadem of camellias at the theater. Some to Marcel Proust’s dandies with their buttonholed camellias. Some say it was their perfect geometry, which reminded Chanel of the stained glass windows of the convent she grew up in, or the fact that their lack of scent made them the perfect decoration to let sit back while Chanel No. 5 did the heavy lifting.
But regardless of why exactly Coco fawned over these flowers, they have become emblematic of the woman who loved them. As the botanists of history will make note, the Tudors will always have roses, Monet will have his poppies, but camellias will always belong to Chanel.