The innovation hub is a base for CHANEL’s revolutionary beauty ventures.

For Gabrielle Chanel, fashion and beauty were destined to serve the allure of each woman. Her vision led to CHANEL incorporating a unique and integrative approach to their beauty creations. True to their revolutionary thought process, integrative beauty at the brand develops in fluid fashion.

Source: CHANEL

In 1998, CHANEL established an open-sky laboratory in Gaujacq, a town in Southwest France, and devoted it entirely to conducting research and studying camellias from all over the world. It is a project of an exceptional scale around the camellia, which is the emblematic flower of the illustrious Mademoiselle Chanel. The project began as a partnership with international camellia expert Jean Thoby, who has been involved with botanical conservatory gardens for decades. It houses 2,000 varieties of camellias, including two seedlings from the mother plants that were supposedly ordered by Gabrielle more than a century ago. This was where it all began for the CHANEL crops.

The CHANEL open-sky laboratory in Gaujacq comprises 40 hectares of land used for conducting research and studying camellias. It is managed based on the principles of agroecology and agroforestry in order to preserve local biodiversity. Researchers in Gaujacq work with the camellias in an ecosystem that provides unique conditions for observation, study, and innovation. The plant conservatory also houses the rarest horticultural species and varieties, on nearly five hectares, and includes no less than 3,000 plants gathered over time around the world by the family of Jean Thoby. Without the CHANEL project, this white camellia, which is only cultivated in Gaujacq, may have disappeared.

Source: CHANEL

“In 1998, we began a collaboration with CHANEL Research, in order to carry out experiments, sampling, planting….from trial to trial, following numerous exchanges with the phytochemistry laboratory, we managed in 2009 to carry out a first cultivation of Camellia japonica ‘Alba Plena’.”

– Jean Thoby

Thanks to this project of unprecedented scale, CHANEL guarantees the production conditions for the flower emblematic of its skincare products. Gaujacq is an illustration of the brand’s tireless perseverance and commitment towards plant sourcing. This unique approach has led to the creation, for several years, of exclusive production lines of ingredients: the CHANEL open-sky laboratories.

By choosing to plant in this specific terroir in the Southwest of France this camellia, which conveys such symbolism in the House’s heritage, and to make it the raw material for its skincare products, CHANEL is banking on the long term and continues to write its history, made of commitments. With the conviction, scientifically supported, that beauty is cultivated, both literally and figuratively.

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Pranav is a writer and editor who always strives to weave stories and narratives with his words. He has written for multiple publications across a wide variety of beats. A keen opinion enthusiast, Pranav pursues the art of writing balanced pieces that explore every available POV before making his conclusion. In his free time, Pranav rages at his favourite sports teams and practices impressions.