Napoleon Bonaparte’s first Empress, Joséphine, is said to have launched the vogue for women wearing tiaras, encouraged by her husband, who pushed for them to be adopted by the ladies of the court as a reflection of his power and taste. Now Bonaparte’s official jeweler, Chaumet, is determined to revive the trend. On Thursday, the house presented its latest collection of “head jewels,” including tiaras and brooches and chains for the hair, at its historic Place Vendôme headquarters. On a chessboard-patterned stage, which recalled Alexander McQueen’s set for his spring 2005 show, models in jewel-like faceted white paper frocks, designed by Alexandra Zaharova, moved in spots of light. Garnet and gold bee and spider pieces from Chaumet’s Catch Me If You Can line were particularly appealing. In a witty backstage installation in another room, models in paper dressing gowns presented archive pieces, including a beautiful pansy tiara, circa 1840. The house is certainly not short on inspiration, boasting an archive of about 400,000 tiara drawings.


Across the square, Mellerio dits Meller, which was founded in 1613, showed timepieces and rings inspired by those commissioned by historic queens, including Marie-Antoinette, but rendered on a much simpler scale.

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