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NEW YORK — Marie-Hélène de Taillac has joined forces with Japanese pearl manufacturer Tasaki & Co. Ltd. to create a limited-edition collection that will make its debut Tuesday.
This story first appeared in the August 26, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The collection, which originated from de Taillac’s capsule line of five clasps for the brand, comprises 20 styles and includes necklaces, pendants, charms, earrings and bracelets. It will be carried at de Taillac’s New York boutique at 20 East 69th Street and at Capitol, a boutique in Charlotte, N.C.
Dubbed “My Pearl,” the collection, which retails from $800 to $5,600, pushed de Taillac to think about ways to keep prices down, while also keeping the design authentic to her aesthetic.
Using less gold and more semiprecious stones with Tasaki’s pearls, de Taillac infused her flair for color with playful touches like gold stars and moon charms, which are sprinkled throughout her main collection, which typically retails from $550 up to $200,000.
But incorporating lower-priced stones such as rainbow moonstone, aquamarine, quartz and tourmaline with various types of gold from 22-karat rose and yellow gold to 18-karat white gold wasn’t her biggest challenge.
“I think one of the things I had to think of is that gold is so expensive,” de Taillac said. “I never design with price in mind. Actually, my biggest challenge was to make the pearl contemporary and to make pearls be worn in a modern way. You don’t want to look old.”
By that token, the designer began her Tasaki collaboration by developing magnetic clasps that would allow the wearer to change the length of the strands of pearls. For an added fashion quotient, the clasps are reversible and are meant to be worn in plain view, de Taillac said.
“Pearls are really in for this season. I really wanted to mix pearls with color, precious and semiprecious stones,” she said, pointing out that a pair of moon earrings in aquamarine that she designed were inspired by beauty maven Helena Rubenstein. “There is something very glamorous about pearls.”
Still, de Taillac, who linked up with Tasaki after she earned a healthy following of her own in Japan, mused about the challenging nature of the pearl. There is a “minimal,” yet “feminine” quality to the pearl, which some consider “old fashioned,” de Taillac said, noting that as a female designer, she wanted to express to the consumer the almost mystical qualities of the stone.
“I think it is important to explain to a woman that pearls have an instant cosmetic effect,” she said. “When you put on pearls, it makes your skin glow. I hope young people will start appreciating pearls and realize that you can wear them without looking like your granny.”