View Slideshow

NEW YORK — Victoire de Castellane made her New York debut on Tuesday evening with the opening of her new “Precious Objects” exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery on the Upper East Side here.

This story first appeared in the March 13, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The jewelry exhibit, which runs through April 5, showcases a new collection from the designer, “Animalvegetablemineral,” as well as select pieces from 2011’s “Fleurs d’excès,” which previously showed at the Gagosian Paris.

“Animalvegetablemineral” explores jewelry as objects of art, in which the jewelry is part of a larger sculptural piece. “It’s almost sad when you don’t wear your jewelry and you keep it on your table,” de Castellane said. “So, I said, ‘I need to make a little house for them.’ If you don’t want to wear [the jewelry], then you can show them without wearing it….It’s an object that you can wear or not wear.” When designing the collection, which made its debut in London last month, de Castellane sought inspiration from a number of subjects, including “the relationship of two people and how we live together.”

Nature plays into a large part of the exhibit, which heavily features a floral motif. Such pieces include Honey Florem Peach Frutti, a bracelet of yellow gold, diamonds, rubies and multicolored sapphires, and Crystal Shocking Pink Baby, a diamond ring nestled within a pink flower sculpture.

“Those little flowers are like human beings,” said de Castellane. In contrast to the blooms sit several serpent-inspired pieces. Lunae Lumen Satine Mummy Blue showcases a blue snake, done in yellow and white gold, platinum, emerald diamonds and colored lacquer, sitting on a rocklike base. “It’s lightened by the midnight blue moon,” explained de Castellane. “I like to play and make little stories.”

In town for only a few days, de Castellane has been capitalizing on the city’s art scene, visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. She will soon be traveling back to her home in Paris to return to her day job: creative director of Dior’s jewelry department, a position she’s held since 1998. “With Dior, I’m working with the identities of Dior, so it’s really the house,” she said of her inspiration and design process. “For myself, it’s more open. My inspiration is more intimate.”