One of the most highly anticipated events during Paris Couture Week is Boucheron’s haute joaillerie presentation. The question is what will the house’s creative director Claire Choisne dream up next? Recent collections showed neon-colored, outsized diamond-studded hair bows and hoodie pulls; effervescent aerogel encased in a large rock crystal and diamond pendant; and huge pebbles with natural diamonds.
She didn’t disappoint last week when she unveiled “The Power of Couture,” a 24-piece collection inspired by ceremonial attire and elements of couture clothing. In the latest chapter of the house’s annual Histoire de Style series, Choisne transformed rock crystal, natural diamonds, and 18-karat gold into impossibly flexible and seemingly knit-like collars, bows and aiguillettes.
As is often the case, the starting point for Choisne was Boucheron’s rich archives: Founder Frédéric Boucheron’s father was a master draper, which inspired the jeweler’s elegant, fluid designs throughout the 19th century. She recreated couture ribbons, bows, buttons, and epaulettes in a monochromatic palette of rock crystal, diamonds, and gold in styles that reference the house’s rich history.
Choisne is known for pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in stones and metal, continuously developing new techniques and using unexpected materials in surprising new ways that imbue jewels with lightness, flexibility, and versatility.
The difficulty in crafting this collection was to bring the characteristics of fabric to rigid gold and stones.
An example of that achievement is the Tricot collar and cuff, made with blasted rock crystal, nitinol (a flexible nickel and titanium alloy) wire, and natural diamonds, in what appears like a chevon-patterned knit collar. It was a technical triumph that required master craftsmen more than 1,000 hours of work to complete both pieces.
Looking at ceremonial attire, including the late Queen Elizabeth II‘s formal regalia, Choisne noted that they feature couture findings, like embroidery, collars, and buttons, which are typically stiff. “I decided to deconstruct the symbols of power to reappropriate them,” she said. The result is an outsized medallion collar necklace made with 15 crystal blocks, each sculpted with a ribbed texture that mimics grosgrain fabric, with medallion pendants. Another braided necklace (with twisted crystal and diamonds) transforms into a braided brooch and bracelet.
In a tribute to couture fashion, Choisne created a large bow fashioned in 435 frosted baguette-cut rock crystals, which were individually cut and assembled in a gold bow framework with a 5.16-carat pear-shaped diamond center. At first glance, you could easily mistake it for a ribbon. The bow can be worn six different ways, and the central diamond is removable and worn as a ring.
A set of 16 rock crystal and diamond buttons can be worn singularly or in unlimited combinations, such as hair ornaments, placed in buttonholes or on a velvet choker.
The ceremonial high-neck collar that is often associated with royal ceremonial attire has been reimagined in a lace-like diamond collar that can be separated and worn in three different ways. Inspired by a tiara the house made in 1900, the collar is made with 662 diamonds that are arranged in an open-work style that is regal yet delicate.
Once again, Choisne delivered new possibilities in jewelry, and we can’t wait to she dreams up next.