'Cafe Society': How Chanel Re-Created 1930s Fashion and Diamond Jewelry for Blake Lively, Kristen Stewart

Courtesy of Chanel
A custom blush silk and lace dress was topped off with a marabou shrug and a Camelia diamond fleur necklace. Says Benzinger, “The gorgeous simplicity of Chanel’s clothing designs acted as a canvas to showcase her jewelry.

The French fashion house made custom clothes and jewels for the starlets well before the Woody Allen controversy consumed Cannes.

Cafe Society might have premiered amid a firestorm at Cannes on May 11 after Woody Allen's son Ronan Farrow accused the media of turning a blind eye to his father's alleged sexual abuse of his sister Dylan Farrow, but the well-reviewed film also generated buzz for its aesthetic. Costume designer Suzy Benzinger worked exclusively with Chanel to create custom looks for Kristen Stewart — a face of the brand who plays a 1930s secretary — and a slew of glittering retro-style diamonds for Blake Lively, who portrays a Manhattan socialite.

Benzinger, a seven-time Allen alum (who could not be reached for comment about the controversy at press time), pored over Chanel archives to find pieces for Stewart. "In the 20th century, Chanel was the epitome of style, luxury and glamour," says Benzinger, who chose two period dresses in cream and pink-peach to be re-created by the luxury brand's Paris studio. "The job was easy: Put an elegant, simple dress on an actress, accessorize with a brooch or earrings — instant glamour! That's the genius of Coco Chanel."
Stewart dazzles in off-white silk and lace with a Plume de Chanel headband featuring 832 brilliant-cut diamonds (14.5 carats) by Chanel Fine Jewelry.

Stewart in a 1932 Collection cocktail ring by Chanel Fine Jewelry.Lively’s fashionista shines in Symphony diamond earrings from the Cafe Society Collection.

Lively in a swingy vintage-inspired bracelet with 263 round-cut stones.

A Perles de Nuit tassel necklace with 914 brilliant-cut diamonds and 47 Tahitian pearls fit right in for the cafe set. Says Benzinger, “I was lucky that Chanel agreed to bring back pieces inspired by ones [Coco] Chanel designed at that time.”

This story first appeared in the May 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.