Five High Jewelry Must-sees During Paris Couture Week

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The Octopus earring from Boucheron’s “Ailleurs” high jewelry collection. Courtesy of Boucheron

PARIS With 27 shows, two presentations and seven high jewelry houses on the official schedule, the July edition of Paris Couture Week kicking off Monday is looking as effervescent as a fresh glass of Champagne.

It’ll be a week of celebrations with Iris van Herpen marking 15 years mining the boundary between craftsmanship and high technology with a “mixed reality” fashion show; Giambattista Valli reflecting on his first decade in haute couture on the runway, and the hotly anticipated one-off Jean Paul Gaultier x Olivier Rousteing project.

As for the high jewelry presentations, here are five sparkling moments to look forward to.

Into the Stars

Floating in the immensity of the Grand Palais Éphémère is Chanel’s “1932” collection, which marks the 90th anniversary of Bijoux de Diamants, the first and only high jewelry designed by Coco Chanel herself.

These 77 designs imagined by jewelry creation studio director Patrice Leguéreau are shown alongside reedited versions of the original designs, painstakingly recreated through the frame-by-frame analysis of the sole film capturing the original exhibition.

“It’s a beautiful style exercise to truly understand the origins of the ‘1932’ collection. It’s interesting to be able to confront these reeditions and the new version,” he said, pointing out how technical execution, new proportions and different spirit “transmitted a different emotion.”

For guest of honor Marion Cotillard, who appeared in her own cosmic journey as face of the house’s No.5 fragrance, the exhibition was “like penetrating inside the moon,” she said after touring the starlit display, which includes the Allure Céleste necklace and its 55.55-carat sapphire and the Comète Volute with a 19.32-carat diamond.

“It’s rare to be touched and marvel at everything you see,” she said. “There are things that are daring: the way [Leguéreau] de-structured the sun is striking, how he played with the moon and its phases, or the little touches of wit like a space rocket or satellite — you can feel he thoroughly enjoyed himself,” said the actress.

Into the Wild

Boucheron will be unveiling the “Ailleurs” high jewelry collection as part of the carte blanche moment where artistic director Claire Choisne is given full creative freedom to explore materials.

Guiding this five-chapter imaginary voyage, triggered when the first lockdown pressed pause on movement and travel, was her desire to reveal the beauty of nature. “We took the liberty of mixing universes and materials — precious or not because they’re all beautiful — that everything opposes in principle,” she told WWD earlier this year.

Expect novel creations, such as the Octopus single earring featuring 178 mother-of-pearl pastilles and 443 brilliant-cut diamonds, designed to be part tattoo, part sea creature curled around the wearer’s ear.

Into the Waves

With the “Végétal — L’École de la Beauté exhibition,” curated by botanist Marc Jeanson, Chaumet explores the marvels of the natural world that have inspired jewelers since times immemorial.

From flowers pressed into the coffin of Pharaoh Ramses the Second more than 3,000 years ago to a pixel-ized flower seen in popular racing simulation Mario Kart, visitors will have a field day with 400 pieces from Chaumet but also from 80 others, including prominent jewelry houses and institutions — a rare feat for an exhibition organized by a house.

“Beauty doesn’t belong to anyone. It’s important to be proud of what the house has and will accomplish but to also look all around ourselves because it enriches [us],” said Chaumet chief executive officer Jean-Marc Mansvelt.
Chaumet’s Gulfstream necklace. Courtesy of Chaumet

With eyes firmly on the horizon, the house will present this week “Ondes et Merveilles,” a collection that owes its name to a play on a French idiom that roughly translates to promising the earth and here reinterpreted to speak about watery marvels.

While the shape of water will be one theme, there will be witty wonders like brooches with a nautical theme, necklaces nodding to undulations of sirens and a set with gems in contrasting hues of blue, green and orange named after the Gulf Stream, the warm-water current that starts in Florida and traverses the Atlantic to Europe’s shores.

Into the Museum

Having a design enter the permanent collection of Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs is recognition for any jeweler, but Taiwan-born, U.S.-educated jeweler Anna Hu is not about to rest on those laurels, or rather, roses….


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