Where would Kate Middleton’s wedding style be without the iconic Garrard sapphire engagement ring or the Cartier tiara? Where would Cinderella be without her glass slipper? I shudder to consider the consequences.
Although fashion usually comes first to mind at the mention of haute couture, Middleton’s Alexander McQueen gown and Cinderella’s (literally) magical blue dress would be incomplete without the bling to match. So while the world marvelled at the fabric sculptures that dominated the recent Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, I turned my attention to the unfortunately overshadowed jewels. Here are the top five high jewellery stunners that caught my eye.
Dior Joaillerie has always had an affinity with the opal, and no wonder. Its artistic director Victoire de Castellane is captivated by the stone. As he so poetically expresses: “When I look at an opal, I feel like I’m seeing the earth from afar, the oceans, the archipelagos, and the reflections of stars on ocean waves…” Nature is a clear inspiration in the La D de Dior collection, where a multitude of coloured gems are put together to create secret watches that almost resemble floral wreaths on the wrist.
If you love something, set it free. And so Frédéric Boucheron did for the ivy. Wild, untamed and organic, the ivy on Boucheron’s Lierre de Paris (or Paris Ivy) collection is made to curl and unfurl around wrists, ears, and necks, not unlike the way it grows around structures in nature. The plant has always been a favourite motif of the French jeweller, its founder being delighted with the sight of the tenacious plant taking over the facades of many a Parisian buildings during his time (that being 1858, when he founded Boucheron).
Time is the most precious commodity; having been taken or given, it can never be recovered. It is only apt then, for our personal time to be sacred. In a physical manifestation of this idea, Bodino, the enigmatic Italian master, showed just three pieces – the first mystery watches he’s created since starting his eponymous brand. With dials concealed under beautiful and rare gems, the watches are a nod to the preciousness of time.
From the harsh clime of the Kalahari desert, an unusual gem was borne – The Queen of Kalahari, an exceptional 342-carat rough diamond of D colour and F (flawless) clarity. From this “queen” came 23 polished diamonds, five of which are more than 20 carats, each representing one of the main diamond cuts – cushion, brilliant, heart, emerald, and pear. Exceptional as they are, these gems can only be given a voice in the hands of a true master. Chopard’s that master, and the gems’ new playground is The Garden of Kalahari collection.
She was wearing menswear-inspired outfits before androgyny was cool; her hair was in a bob when the fashion was for long locks. Gabrielle Chanel was a rebel with a cause, and her cause was freedom and lightness. Coco Avant Chanel is a collection that reflects this attitude, with motifs inspired by ribbons and laces (which Mademoiselle much preferred over feathers to decorate her minimalist boater hats) that wrap around the wearer’s body with a fluidity that resembles fabric.