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Marie-Hélène de Taillac’s Uptown Gem

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Marie-Hélène de Taillac’s new Manhattan boutique is like a maharaja’s palace fit inside a ring box. Set to open on March 30, the store is a tiny, decadent wedge of space on East 69th Street’s buzzing retail-scape (Fivestory is next door) and was inspired by Marie Antoinette’s private theater at Versailles. Every detail was carefully considered, even the fabric-lined walls, which boast the label’s logo hand-printed in golden ink. The New York outpost represents the French designer’s third eponymous salon de joaillerie, following locations in Tokyo and Paris, respectively.

“I suppose I’m inspired by what we call in France l’air du temps,” said de Taillac in the store’s private upstairs atelier. Produced entirely in Jaipur, India, her collection is anchored by float-mounted ruby rings, teardrop amethysts on hairline-thin gold chains, and rainbow spiral-wave pendants. In celebration of the Manhattan opening, the designer has created a handful of novelty pieces, like red-white-and-blue earrings, which were made especially for New York. “I have little stars, daisies—I collected a really beautiful dried poppy in the garden and gave it to the stone carvers,” said the designer, fondly. Men should also take note: de Taillac will offer cufflinks and shirt studs—one pair of which comes in the shape of lips.

Jetting west marks the realization of a longtime dream for de Taillac. She had always wanted to find a location in New York and, as it turns out, it was through a freak flight cancellation in New Delhi due to Obama’s Air Force One airspace restrictions that led to her new digs. While waiting to rebook her ticket, she struck up a conversation with a man who told her of the shop’s vacancy—”good karma,” she calls it. Once she’s settled in, the designer is excited to see how Empire State women will wear her designs. “I think the client in New York is more glamorous,” she said. (Although, considering this conversation took place over an Yves Klein table that the Frenchwoman had custom outfitted with 46,000 aquamarines, that’s up for debate.) “What’s nice here is that you have big parties, you go out, and you learn to dress up.”

Marie-Hélène de Taillac’s new boutique will open on March 30 at 20 E. 69th St., (212) 249-0371, www.mariehelenedetaillac.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Marie-Hélène de Taillac

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