LHA PURSUITS | Luxury Accessories and Couture
Michelle’s journey in fashion began when her grandmother introduced her to sewing. Bibergal used this elemental design technique as a guide through her career, which continued at Rockford University where she earned a BA in drawing and textiles. She went on to work at Marshall Field’s and later joined Ultimo, an internationally recognized destination for high fashion. Ultimo was the first store in the Midwest to sell top international designers, including Giorgio Armani, Valentino and Versace. Two years after starting with Ultimo, Bibergal returned to her roots, learning couture sewing and design from Alan and Anglique Boer, French couturiers. In 1987, the Chanel Boutique in Chicago hired Bibergal as its first employee. She remained at Chanel for 30 years, building a loyal clientele to whom she introduced the best that high fashion had to offer.
Michelle first noticed our Gripoix collection of Chanel. The Gripoix house first gained prominence in the late nineteenth-century when Augustine Gripoix, a Parisian glass worker and jewelry designer, created stage necklaces for Sarah Bernhadt; hence the term, “costume jewelry.” In the 1920s, Augustine’s daughter, Suzanne Gripoix, worked with the likes of Jeanne Lanvin and Jean Piguet, though her most fruitful relationship was with Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.
The Gripoix collection is for true connoisseurs of Chanel. Collectors like Diana Vreeland gravitated towards Gripoix for Chanel because it truly shows the personal influence of Coco.
When you think Chanel, you think pearls. Chanel is recognized for generously layered pearls.
Chanel pearls, Michelle explains, are much more than “faux.” While they are not naturally occurring pearls they are delicately formed. Rather than just using glass or plastic, as is common, these are glass beads with a nacre paste, or mother of pearl, that is hand applied. This process gives them a deep color and ensures they last longer. In addition, Chanel strung pearls with silk thread, a practice usually reserved for natural pearls.
In addition to Gripoix, Chanel also worked closely with the Desrues house to produce costume jewelry. At first Desrues, run by George Gesrues, produced buttons for Coco Chanel before moving to jewelry. They were first charged with making costume reproductions of the precious jewelry given to Coco Chanel by the Duke of Westminster. Today, their collaboration is not as well known because Chanel purchased the house itself in 1985.