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PARIS — With the Biennale des Antiquaires looming, most fine jewelry houses in Paris are busy working on the collections they will preview to press in July before putting them on display at the show in September.
This forced many to sit out the fine jewelry presentations that traditionally accompany Paris Couture Week, leaving a couple of new arrivals plenty of scope to showcase their designs. Chanel and Louis Vuitton were the only major houses to show new collections, though Vuitton had already unveiled its Emprise line during its pre-fall appointments in New York earlier in the month.
This story first appeared in the January 28, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Chanel collection was the first one centered entirely on pearls since 2006. The 87 pieces, of which roughly a third are necklaces, focused on themes including the camellia and Gabrielle Chanel’s inaugural fine jewelry collection in 1932, which featured comet, feather and ribbon designs. The new styles are worked in everything from tiny freshwater pearls to chunky baroque pearls from Australia. “For Chanel, pearls represent a kind of hidden luxury because they’re highly personal,” said Benjamin Comar, international director of Chanel Fine Jewelry. “And above all, they are very easy to wear, because they’re supple, they’re sensual, so they really match the evolution of women’s lifestyles.”
One stunner, the Perles de Jour necklace, blends 47 South Sea cultured pearls with diamond tassels and an 8-carat cushion-cut central diamond that secures the two strands. The one-of-a-kind piece, made in the Chanel workshop on Place Vendôme, is worth 2.55 million euros, or $3.47 million at current exchange.
Boucheron, meanwhile, presented several fine jewelry additions to its Quatre line, launched in 2004, including cuffs with geometric motifs and a Quatre ring fully pavéd with diamonds in baguette, princess, cushion and round cuts. The ring retails for 39,500 euros to 44,950 euros, or $53,745 to $61,160, depending on the width. With its four stacked bands bearing iconic Boucheron motifs, the Quatre ring has been spotted on stars including Salma Hayek, Amber Heard and Beyoncé, who wore hers on stage during a concert in New York in December.
Bulgari, which this year celebrates its 130th anniversary, showcased several new pieces from its mini collection devoted to the four seasons. The pink gold Autumn necklace features diamonds juxtaposed with tourmalines, amethysts and spessartite garnets, all carved into leaf shapes inspired by Mughal tradition.
For his Metropolis collection, Wilfredo Rosado gave life to gridlike white gold structures by coating the inside of the jewelry with color, using a nanoceramic technique, and then hammer-setting them with emeralds or sapphires. Diamonds were reverse set into a sharp point on the bottom of a pendant and earrings. “It’s inspired by architecture and my take on all these amazing glass towers that are coming up,” Rosado said.
Maison Martin Margiela revived its Ligne 12 jewelry line, which stopped in 2011, with the Héritage collection, consisting of heirloom pieces with a twist. Its bisected diamond solitaire ring is being described as a “non-engagement” ring, while the Pompadour is a deconstructed diamond and sapphire ring designed to be worn on two fingers. The collection will go on sale beginning in April at Maison Martin Margiela stores and about 15 retailers, including Selfridges and Barneys New York. Prices start at 500 euros, or $680, for a silver signet ring cleaved across the middle, and rise to 20,000 euros, or $27,200, for the largest-sized split solitaire ring.
After offering a teaser of her first fine jewelry line in September, Aurélie Bidermann showed the full 38 pieces in Paris, with lucky charms including a ladybird whose wings can open and close, Indian elements such as elephant pendants and a Forties-style gold mesh bracelet inspired by her grandmother’s watch. “It was important to me that everything be easy to mix and match,” said the designer.
Another newcomer is Dauphin, the brainchild of Charlotte Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld, which made a high-profile debut with a presentation and cocktail at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and visuals shot by Paolo Roversi that featured model Saskia de Brauw. Consisting of two rings, two pairs of earrings, a cuff and a necklace, the line is based on sparse geometric lines and curves. Set with diamonds by hand, the designs will be sold exclusively through Dauphin’s Web site and at its future showroom in London, with prices starting at 700 euros, or $950, for silver pieces and rising to 60,000 euros, or $81,640, for a sculptural made-to-measure necklace.
Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld described her customer as “a contemporary woman who has a certain confidence, who is both strong yet at the same time truly elegant.”