PARIS — With 27 shows, two presentations and seven high jewelry houses on the official schedule, the July edition of Paris Couture Week kicking off Monday is looking as effervescent as a fresh glass of Champagne.
It’ll be a week of celebrations with Iris van Herpen marking 15 years mining the boundary between craftsmanship and high technology with a “mixed reality” fashion show; Giambattista Valli reflecting on his first decade in haute couture on the runway, and the hotly anticipated one-off Jean Paul Gaultier x Olivier Rousteing project.
As for the high jewelry presentations, here are five sparkling moments to look forward to.
Into the Stars
Floating in the immensity of the Grand Palais Éphémère is Chanel’s “1932” collection, which marks the 90th anniversary of Bijoux de Diamants, the first and only high jewelry designed by Coco Chanel herself.
These 77 designs imagined by jewelry creation studio director Patrice Leguéreau are shown alongside reedited versions of the original designs, painstakingly recreated through the frame-by-frame analysis of the sole film capturing the original exhibition.
“It’s a beautiful style exercise to truly understand the origins of the ‘1932’ collection. It’s interesting to be able to confront these reeditions and the new version,” he said, pointing out how technical execution, new proportions and different spirit “transmitted a different emotion.”
For guest of honor Marion Cotillard, who appeared in her own cosmic journey as face of the house’s No.5 fragrance, the exhibition was “like penetrating inside the moon,” she said after touring the starlit display, which includes the Allure Céleste necklace and its 55.55-carat sapphire and the Comète Volute with a 19.32-carat diamond.
“It’s rare to be touched and marvel at everything you see,” she said. “There are things that are daring: the way [Leguéreau] de-structured the sun is striking, how he played with the moon and its phases, or the little touches of wit like a space rocket or satellite — you can feel he thoroughly enjoyed himself,” said the actress.
Into the Wild
Boucheron will be unveiling the “Ailleurs” high jewelry collection as part of the carte blanche moment where artistic director Claire Choisne is given full creative freedom to explore materials.
Guiding this five-chapter imaginary voyage, triggered when the first lockdown pressed pause on movement and travel, was her desire to reveal the beauty of nature. “We took the liberty of mixing universes and materials — precious or not because they’re all beautiful — that everything opposes in principle,” she told WWD earlier this year.
Expect novel creations, such as the Octopus single earring featuring 178 mother-of-pearl pastilles and 443 brilliant-cut diamonds, designed to be part tattoo, part sea creature curled around the wearer’s ear.
Into the Waves
With the “Végétal — L’École de la Beauté exhibition,” curated by botanist Marc Jeanson, Chaumet explores the marvels of the natural world that have inspired jewelers since times immemorial.
From flowers pressed into the coffin of Pharaoh Ramses the Second more than 3,000 years ago to a pixel-ized flower seen in popular racing simulation Mario Kart, visitors will have a field day with 400 pieces from Chaumet but also from 80 others, including prominent jewelry houses and institutions — a rare feat for an exhibition organized by a house.
“Beauty doesn’t belong to anyone. It’s important to be proud of what the house has and will accomplish but to also look all around ourselves because it enriches [us],” said Chaumet chief executive officer Jean-Marc Mansvelt.
With eyes firmly on the horizon, the house will present this week “Ondes et Merveilles,” a collection that owes its name to a play on a French idiom that roughly translates to promising the earth and here reinterpreted to speak about watery marvels.
While the shape of water will be one theme, there will be witty wonders like brooches with a nautical theme, necklaces nodding to undulations of sirens and a set with gems in contrasting hues of blue, green and orange named after the Gulf Stream, the warm-water current that starts in Florida and traverses the Atlantic to Europe’s shores.
Into the Museum
Having a design enter the permanent collection of Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs is recognition for any jeweler, but Taiwan-born, U.S.-educated jeweler Anna Hu is not about to rest on those laurels, or rather, roses.
In addition to the Eglantine Da Vinci brooch and the other 34 pieces she presented last month at the TEFAF Maastricht art fair, she will unveil a further 35 pieces that explore inspirations from East and West.
The Metamorphosis bracelet, with its 35.4-carat light brown marquise diamond she designed for London-based jeweler Moussaïeff is certainly not to be missed.
Into the Future
To mark Gaia Repossi’s 15th year as creative director of her family’s eponymous house, the brand is presenting a retrospective of her high jewelry designs.
But don’t expect a museum-worthy set. Repossi is determined to translate traditional codes of jewelry into “bold pieces intended to work as a second skin” by combining art, architecture and “primitive jewelry,” stated the house.
Presented in an art gallery in Paris, this is an opportunity to explore the Serti sur Vide floating diamonds or the Blast spirals as artistic gestures rather than denizens of Place Vendôme.