13 posts tagged "Victoire de Castellane"
In the run-up to September’s Biennale des Antiquaires—arguably the most important event on the jewelry calendar—there is much muchness being showcased in and around the Place Vendôme. But while big may be beautiful and jaw-dropping, some of the season’s most compelling pieces, such as “floating” stones and unexpected 3-D effects, prove that less can still be more. Below, we tell you everything you need to know about the hautest of this season’s fine jewelry.
A Fine Jewel: A champion of couture with parsimony, Emmanuel Aubry decided to “turn water to ice” by mounting a 47-carat rectangular cabochon atop a mirror in a white-gold cage setting called the Riva, in homage to the boat. By the time you read this, the one-of-a-kind Riva will have likely vaporized. (It happens to be the least bank-breaking bauble of the week.) Fortunately, Aubry has other aquas to freeze and plenty of other stones where “things are happening.”
Boucheron: Japan, Russia, India, China, and Persia offered up a whirlwind world tour of inspirations, among them a Bolshoi-informed diamond necklace that can become a tiara: the Trésor de Perse necklace in diamonds, rock crystal, and two cabochon sapphires including one that once belonged to the shah of Iran and a 190-carat engraved emerald that belonged to a 17th-century maharajah. “It’s all about the majesty of the stones,” commented creative director Claire Choisne. “There’s no need for complexity. I try to stay as invisible as possible and keep it simple.”
Buccellati: Every two years, Buccellati focuses on a single object. This year, it’s Bracelets de Rêves. Forty unique variations on house signatures by Andrea Buccellati feature baroque flourishes set into a silky, textured background known as rigato, a proprietary technique, or gold honeycomb lace. The dazzling diamond-, sapphire-, and tsavorite-encrusted cuff was two years in the making. The house is also quietly turning out unexpected pieces, such as gold and diamond iPad and phone covers.
Bulgari: Stones talk. Lucia Silvestri has spent her life listening to them for Bulgari, but even she can’t quite explain how she does it. That’s why she decided to whittle 4 carats off her favorite stone in the collection: a Burmese sapphire. The 58-carat cabochon anchors one of the nine creations in the Musa collection. Overall, candy-colored stones with irregular shapes and bezel settings take pride of place. (Silvestri affectionately calls one necklace “The Flintstone.”) High-jewelry serpentis mark the house’s 130th anniversary.
Chanel: In a departure, Chanel tapped into the explosive creative freedom of café society and shook loose of strictly figurative codes. What camellias and stars remained got the abstract treatment, as graphic relief on the supple, 3-D Sunset necklace heavy with padparadscha sapphires and diamonds. Elsewhere, the house ventured into gold with red enamel on an openwork bracelet set with diamonds and yellow sapphires. Another showstopper: the Broadway bracelet set with 35 carats’ worth of baguette, brilliant, and square-cut diamonds.
Cindy Chao: Cindy Chao dances on the line between jewelry and art objects. This year’s centerpiece was the much-talked about 10th anniversary Ballerina Butterfly, a collaboration with Sarah Jessica Parker that will be auctioned to benefit the New York City Ballet in October. Elsewhere, the designer continued her tribute to nature and the four seasons, which most recently included sculptural orchid earrings wrought in 3-D with large sapphires and diamonds on all sides of the piece.
Dauphin: Charlotte de La Rochefoucauld is exploring a “blue period” with her nascent jewelry line. Her latest pieces include a boule ring based on her minimalist cuff, which are both done in black diamonds on palladium gold with a midnight blue cast that changes depending on the light. The cuff is also offered in black, gray, and white ombré diamonds and, come September, in rose gold, a special edition for Le Bon Marché. The designer has also spun out her Eiffel-esque design into a significant diamond-set signet ring.
Dior: Of the twenty-one one-of-a-kind pieces in Victoire de Castellane’s ArchiDior high-jewelry collection, all but four had been snapped up by the middle of Couture week. Among the pieces inspired by Christian Dior’s creations from 1947 to early 1950 were the surprising Corolle Soir in pigeon’s blood rubies and diamonds, and the Envol ring, which echoes the dress by reprising a button detail with a significant emerald. There was also a hint of what’s to come in the other twenty-three pieces now being readied for the Biennale, with Plissée Verticale, a ribbon of diamonds ending in pear-cut emeralds.
Louis Vuitton: Acte V signals the house’s fifth high-jewelry collection, and that key numeral-slash-letter is the springboard for pieces based on Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s tricolor monogram, sketchbooks, and 1925 Milano vanity set. A necklace with a nearly 88-carat Australian black opal was the headline act. But the talking points for many editors were smaller entries, such as the Deco-informed Apotheosis cuff and the hexagonal ring boasting diamonds, chrysoprase, and a hint of the seventies.
Repossi: We’re hearing a lot about “floating” stones this season, but no one did it quite like Gaia Repossi. “Just the stone is enough,” the designer noted of the delicately futuristic collection she called “set on empty.” One major statement was the ring with four yellow diamonds and one white in various shapes and sizes. “It’s big, but it’s camouflage big,” the designer offered. Also big and less camouflage-able were two Bauhaus-inspired cuffs in pink gold “tulle” and diamonds.
Reza: Olivier Reza doesn’t “do” themes. Fair enough: He has more stones than anyone. For the first time in fifteen years, Reza will show at the Biennale with a mix of about forty new pieces as well as some archival favorites, such as a pair of significant seventies-era drop earrings with two sapphires that together weigh 100 carats (that’s not counting the diamonds, plus they’re not for sale). Among the new wares are the Tremblant ruby and diamond earrings, and contemporary takes on the “toi et moi” with two stones set at close remove.
Wilfredo Rosado:As an assistant to Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat back in the eighties, Wilfredo Rosado discovered a passion for art that has followed him everywhere since. For this softer, lighter-colored collection, the designer looked to the work of Cy Twombly, notably his Alhambra period, for gems layered in the spirit of Moroccan mosaics. Two other groups, Bakkheia and Rapture, render the artist’s zigzags and scribbles in great swoops of white and colored diamonds.
Venyx: Natural phenomena, stars, and green lights fascinate Eugenie Niarchos. With her second collection, Theiya—a name that nods to the Greek goddess of sight, light, and shiny things in general—the designer offered another take on nature’s beauty in lightning bolt bracelets, Venyx stars (one branch is longer than the others), and a constellation of diamonds on an ear cuff called Lady Australis. Twin dusk and dawn pendants called Theiya Lumia were set with diamonds and moonstone or labradorite and a tiny piece of the Gibeon meteorite in back.
Victoire de Castellane, the cerebral artistic director of Dior Joaillerie, has taken a new approach to high jewelry this season. The collection’s name, ArchiDior, plays on French shorthand for “architecture,” as well as a familiar term for “extreme.” So what does that tell us about the house’s latest jewels, a selection of which debut exclusively here? For starters, de Castellane turned away from the flora that so often informs her wares, and instead focused on the structural details found in Dior’s pristine garments of past and present. In the run-up to couture week, the designer took a moment to talk with Style.com about her childlike approach to design, rings that boast a thousand stones, and what sets this high-wattage collection apart from its predecessors.
What were the inspirations behind this new collection?
I started with a theme, Dior couture, and above all the idea of construction in fabric, which I adapted to gold. For Dior, I usually work with nature-inspired themes like roses, flowers, and so on. But this time I wanted to look at the work Dior did in his collections. Most of all, I had read that [when Dior was young] he wanted to be an architect. In some of his collections, he was really building constructions that were translated as cuts, pleats, geometry, and asymmetrical shapes. I thought it would be interesting to take those ideas and work them in metal, which is nothing at all like fabric.
Did you start with one iconic piece, or was it more abstract?
It was the lines: the Bar jacket was an inspiration, but so were the Ailée, Milieu du Siècle and Corolle lines, and such dresses as the Songe (haute couture, Spring/Summer 1947) and the Junon (Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 1949), among others.
How did you translate those garments and shapes into jewelry?
I like to injecting an idea and then working around it. There’s a point of departure, but it’s light, and it builds from there. ‘Literal’ is not my style; imagination takes over, and when you see the final piece you forget about [the inspiration] because every single one of them looks different depending on the angle from which you view it. For the Junon earrings, I set diamonds in black gold because I wanted to capture just the festive spirit of the dress, which is covered with paillettes. When it came to the Bar jacket, I designed a bracelet that’s cinched with an emerald and diamond baguettes on the ‘belt’ part. I reversed that same scheme for the ring, using a diamond and emerald baguettes. I incorporated the idea of the Miss Dior dress from Raf Simon’s first haute couture collection, which was covered in multicolored sequins like an Impressionist painting. So I took all the colors on that dress and adapted them to this bracelet. It’s a mix of modern couture colors and the Bar suit by Mr. Dior. At the same time, I wanted to give it my personal touch and slightly different volumes.
How do you reconcile architecture with movement?
Every dress moves in a certain way, but that aspect is just a detail in the final piece. The rest is asymmetrical, as if each piece were actually many jewels in one. Each face is always different.
Whimsy is one of your hallmarks. How does that come through in ArchiDior?
There’s a childlike feeling to the collection because I always work in a very spontaneous way. The technique is controlled, but I always forget my real age—when I’m working I feel like I’m five! There’s always joy. I can never work with something that bores me.
What did you want to express with this collection?
I wanted to show how I work with figurative abstraction. I felt like I was exploring something that I had never done at Dior before, which was the mastery of curves, working outside of vegetal themes, and mixing unusual colors. Everyone does “couture” jewelry. It’s quite classic to depict animals and flowers. With ArchiDior, I wanted to create something new that had never been done this way. That’s why I thought it was really interesting to start with Dior dresses. And it was a real challenge. Some of our craftsmen with forty years of experience behind them found certain pieces so complex and spectacular that it took a year and a half to complete them. That’s what happened with the Ailée bracelet. And lots of rings have a thousand stones in them. There are so many incredible stories behind these pieces.
What’s the balance between the influence of Mr. Dior, that of Raf Simons, and your own vision?
It’s hard to say—all three are there, but it’s complicated. The foundations are Mr. Dior, there are Raf’s colors because he has a very special palette, there’s my taste, there’s what’s happening in couture now… it’s impossible to quantify. Ultimately, I think that’s something people will judge for themselves.
Following five collaborative capsules with Jean Touitou’s A.P.C., Vanessa Seward is taking things to the next level and launching her own brand with the financial support of A.P.C. She’s already begun working on her first collection, which is set to debut in Paris for the Fall ’15 season, and a series of stand-alone stores are already in the works. Here, Seward, an alum of Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and, most recently, Azzaro, talks to Style.com about her vision of sensible luxury, why low-waisted jeans are the worst, and what we can expect from her new line.
How did your collaboration with A.P.C. start? Was it kind of an experiment?
It was not even an experiment: Two and a half years ago, it was a one-shot, because [A.P.C. owner Jean Touitou and I] knew each other, we liked each other, and I missed working. So he said, “How about doing a collection with us?” And because I loved the brand, I was really happy to. It was a brand I bought and used and understood, so it was a nice challenge.
Did it come as a relief after doing so much high-fashion?
In a way, because when you’re doing high-end fashion, it becomes very difficult to do casual because it’s always a bit overpriced. And somehow it never looks as good. The couture houses have a wonderful hand for evening dresses, but casual is more complicated. What looks cool is when you combine the two. With the very first [A.P.C.] collection, I did things with couture fabrics combined with jeans and Irish sweaters. That was a relief for me. And I think a couture sensibility with jeans made for a really good fit. They sold out really quickly.
Your catchphrase is “sensible luxury.” Could you define it for us?
Even when a woman earns a good living in France today, luxury is still very inaccessible—and among the more accessible brands, there is a heavy connotation: You’re either boho or rock-chic, etc. It feels like a disguise. In previous generations we consumed less—you bought something a little more expensive that would last for years, and that really speaks to me. Even if they’re not as expensive, clothes are still an investment, and a nice sweater or skirt should last and make you look good without making you look like a fashionista.
What do you keep in mind when shopping? Is there anything you’ve bought lately that you love?
When you buy something, it’s important to be able to see yourself wearing it ten years into the future, and knowing you won’t feel stupid when you look at it in a photo. I don’t like over-designed clothes. I like clothes that are simple, that have a nice fit, that make you look good and don’t have too many details. Your personality is what counts. Then, luxury has to come in the finishings, in the cut, in the color, and material.
What have you bought lately?
I love my new Michel Vivien sandals because they fit with my notion of sensible luxury and they are also timeless. I get an “old Saint Laurent” feel from them. And at the same time, they will not look dated. I could give you a whole list of what I bought at A.P.C. For example, the Victoire jeans from the last collaboration are an homage to my friend Victoire de Castellane. I’ve known Victoire since I was her assistant at Chanel, and she has always been a big inspiration.
Are you doing the muse thing?
Yes and no. Victoire, her sister, and the friends around me are all big inspirations. For me, the danger lies in always designing [for oneself]. The collaboration with A.P.C. is a bit like working with a publisher. I try to design things that appeal to a wide range of women.
Are you—like many of us—relieved to be getting away from low-waisted jeans?
Oh, my God, so happy. There’s nothing more depressing, there’s nothing that makes me feel fatter than low-waisted jeans! There was a whole period when I would just not wear jeans anymore. At every house I worked with, and especially with Mr. Azzaro, I learned a lot about respecting the body. I like things that make you look good without crossing the thin line into overtly sexy.
What’s your take on Parisian style?
It’s about knowing how to balance an effect. Those who grow up in a family culture of sensible luxury will hold on to an Hermès bag they inherited, or an old jacket, and they are good at mixing couture with jeans. If they are going to be really dressed up, they won’t wear much makeup and their hair won’t be too done. That makes it cool.
What can we expect from your debut collection?
I’ve started working on the collection and it’s almost like psychoanalysis. I’m basically reviewing my whole life: I was brought up in London, and my family is Argentine, but they are a bit English, and there’s a lot of Paris, too. Then there’s all the time I spent working at Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Azzaro. When I was working with those brands, I was thinking about their codes. Now I am creating my own. Just thinking about what my staples are is really exciting. What we call “affordable luxury” is just about the price; what I am trying to do is broader than that. I want to do something seductive that plays on bon chic, bon genre with a little naughtiness, and I think I can do that in a way that is mine.
Last night, Dior’s head of haute joaillerie, the ever-fantastical, ever-inspired Victoire de Castellane, celebrated the opening of her independent show Precious Objects at Gagosian’s Madison Avenue gallery. The exhibition, she explained, looked to the limits of the natural and artificial. “The idea is to show the extreme two possibilities that I can create: the more extravagant and the more maybe classical—because I play with precious stones like emeralds, diamonds, sapphires,” said the Parisian, who has been incorporating sculpture into her fine-jeweled creations since 2007. “It’s a mix of my inspirations, so it’s a mix of nature, of the feminine universe, of romanticism, and how we live together and how we manage to succeed to live together.”
This wide-reaching set of influences came together in a series of bright flora- and fauna-referencing baubles—pulled from the animalvegetablemineral exhibition and 2011′s hallucinogenic-inspired Fleurs d’excès range—that rested on raw geode sculptures. A blooming acid pink and emerald green flower holds a gold-encrusted diamond in Crystal Shocking Pink Baby, while a glistening, teal-blue snake wraps around a sparkling iridescent lacquer in Lunae Lumen Holly Colorum. Thanks to their magnetic color palette and whimsical, girly names—Honey Florem Peach Frutti, Lunae Lumen Glitter Blue, etc. —the pieces feel like an artist’s reimagining of nature fused with yesteryear’s Lisa Frank. “They are like little treasures!” exclaimed De Castellane from the side of the gallery. “It’s important to wear them like treasures,” she added of her artful, magical, and undeniably wacky creations. “I also wanted to show what happens when you don’t wear the jewels. It’s a bit ‘How to Enjoy Your Jewels When You’re Not Wearing Them.’ [Jewelry] is a language for me, and I want to continue to create, to express myself.”
Precious Objects will be on view through April 5.
Over the past 25 years, A.P.C. chief Jean Touitou has built an empire on what he calls “boring” fashion: “It’s only clothes,” he says, “but that’s what it’s about.” Every Parisienne worth her A.P.C. trench would agree, starting with Vanessa Seward: In the designer’s first season at the company, she asked not for a paycheck but for clothes. “Working with Jean is like being at home; I always try on the whole collection. It’s totally utilitarian Rive Gauche,” said Seward as her husband, musician/composer/producer Bertrand Burgalat, took command of the turntables. “My dream is to be dressed in A.P.C. and Valentino, but as I can’t afford Valentino I buy their shoes and the rest is A.P.C. or vintage.” Her success in her current gig has been such that Touitou is considering expanding her purview from her capsule collection to the regular line in seasons ahead.
The crowd at the freshly redone, Laurent Deroo-designed label HQ in the sixth arrondissement to toast the anniversary was a cultural mash-up of photographers (von Unwerth), publishers, artists (Sophie Calle), fashion folk (two Le-Tans, André Saraiva, Victoire de Castellane, Inès de la Fressange, Caroline de Maigret, Lanvin’s Elie Top), and music-world tastemakers. A noted music lover, Touitou (pictured above, with revelers) got on board with rap early on; the A.P.C. site features 26 self-produced music compilations and the in-house recording studio is open to staff and friends. Hence the presence of Metronomy band members, Jarvis Cocker, and Kanye West. As he scanned the remarkably laid-back, hysteria-free crowd, Touitou remarked, “Nowhere else in Paris do you find this. This is A.P.C.”