PARIS — Don't expect Boucheron, the jewelry house owned by France's PPR, to dwell on its storied past next week when it kicks off festivities to mark its 150th anniversary.
Jean-Christophe Bédos, the Place Vendôme jeweler's president, said he wanted to use the occasion to focus on the future. To wit, he challenged his team of house designers to formulate a no-punches-pulled collection of exceptional high jewelry.
"We want the anniversary to be an occasion to celebrate our energy and passion," he explained. "It's not the time to look to the past and reissue archive pieces."
The resulting collection — called Enchanting Boucheron, with prices from 1 million euros, or $1.48 million, to 3 million euros, or $4.4 million — will be unveiled to press and clients starting Monday in a town house here on the Place François 1er that, conveniently, belongs to PPR owner François Pinault.
Word has it that the jewels will be presented alongside paintings from Pinault's personal collection of modern and contemporary art. "It should be memorable," said Bédos, declining to give details.
Meanwhile, more than 100 of the house's best clients have been invited to a dinner Monday evening here. Julianne Moore is expected to attend.
Boucheron has been on a roll recently, with sales increasing at a healthy clip, thanks to the boom in demand for high jewelry in markets such as Russia, Asia and the Middle East.
Bédos wants to build on that momentum. For the anniversary, two high jewelry collections — instead of the traditional single offering — and a raft of limited edition products and a new watch will be introduced. The second high jewelry offering will be presented during the couture in Paris in July.
The watches — many in limited runs — include made-to-order pieces dappled with diamonds. Girard Perregaux, the Swiss manufacturer with which Boucheron recently signed a partnership, provided all of the movements.
But the high jewelry is likely to garner the most buzz. "Usually we have budget restrictions when creating a high jewelry collection," explained Bédos. "This time I gave our designers carte blanche. No limit."The result is 30 pieces testifying to the house's technical prowess. There is, for example, a necklace — requiring eight months of work — of diamonds and sapphires with rubies placed in golden snakes' mouths. Another necklace of diamonds and emeralds boasts secretive disk-top pods that open to reveal hidden gems. And yet another diamond and sapphire necklace comes with Art Nouveau-style flowers carved in amethyst and aquamarine. One flower detaches to double as a vial to be filled with fragrance.
One of the more curious pieces is a white gold mask — dappled with sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and flowers fashioned out of amethyst and aquamarine adorned with a detachable aigrette of heron feathers.
"Our hope with the collection is to affirm what we are capable of creating today," said Bédos, who will travel around the world this year to host multiple private client dinners as part of the anniversary celebrations. "We are preparing for the next 150 years."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast