Haute couture is at the center of an update from French jeweler Boucheron.
Designed each year in adherence to the theme “Histoire de Style,” the maison is focused on high jewelry for the fourth edition of an annual collection. Informed by archival content and envisioned by creative director Claire Choisne, the array takes inspiration from ceremonial attire offering a lesson in brand heritage across owned digital platforms including its podcast, “Boucheron True Stories.”
“For a number of years now, Boucheron has been adeptly exploring the boundary of transitional jewelry,” said Daymon Bruck, chief creative officer at The O Group, New York.
“This most recent edition by creative director Clair Choisne continues to push the concept of what can become fine jewelry while also adding a layer of historical brand storytelling that connects the maison’s couture past,” Mr. Bruck said. “These new pieces are more than just high jewelry, they are modern symbols of wearable objects — historically related to the ideals of nobility, success and the recognition of excellence.
“By playing with the boundaries of classic jewelry formats, this new edition has created jewelry for the entire body, a link to Boucheron’s couture past but also an exciting direction for modern craftsmanship and creativity.”
Mr. Bruck is not affiliated with Boucheron, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Showcased on Jan. 23 at Place Vendôme during Paris Couture Week, Boucheron’s 24-piece collection spotlights hidden aspects of the house’s past, one rooted in a familial connection to the garment industry.
Before Frédéric Boucheron worked to establish one of the world’s finest jewelers, his father would embrace a career in drapery, instilling elements of savior-faire into the mind of his son.
It is this background that today’s artistic lead, Ms. Choisne, drew upon for the presentation at hand. Each ornamental in nature, product categories are split into eight jewelry sets, or “lessons” as Boucheron calls them.
Titles for these groupings range from references to everyday finishings — buttons and bows head the first two sections — to epaulets, medals and aiguillettes, typically observed across the wardrobes of royalty or members of the armed forces.
For “Lesson 1: Le Boutons,” more than a dozen white gold buttons set with diamonds and rock crystal were paired with a 4.63-carat diamond ring and adjustable-length ear pendants.
Mimicking the texture of ribbon for “Lesson 2: Le Nœud” is the matte effect of 435 frosted rock crystals that were, with direction from Ms. Choisne, individually hand-cut and fitted into a white gold frame, its borders set with diamonds.
One common thread uniting the full collection is its ability to be worn in multiple ways. The aforementioned creation, for example, can be adjusted into six different formats.
It comes as a necklace and features a detachable portion that may be worn by itself as a bracelet. The bow can also transform into a brooch or shoulder adornment, and its central stone may be mounted on a ring as a solitaire, Boucheron says.
Certain designs such as “The Embroideries” and “The Knit,” which mark lessons three and four respectively, tribute textile manipulation techniques using crystal constructions. The latter is comprised entirely of hard rock crystal and diamonds, having taken more than 1,000 hours for craftspeople to forge.
Lesson five, “Les épaulettes,” opts to employ diamond spirals inspired by a diadem commissioned in 1902 for Mary De Teck, Princess of Wales. The item can be styled as bracelets — a matching, modern white gold tiara design also appeared in Boucheron’s show.
Putting a twist on the traditionally braided chains made of cloth, sandblasted crystal grants the sixth lesson and piece, “L’aiguillette,” a frosted effect.
Lesson seven’s medals are made of crystals, diamonds and white gold. Two options have been produced, each featuring a centerpiece crafted from 15 crystal blocks, cut down into bespoke shapes and patterns.
Boucheron states that the medallions took upwards of 2,200 man-hours to complete.
“Le Col” or “The Collar,” Boucheron’s eighth and final lesson, harkens back to the founder’s lineage. Diamonds are beset upon incredibly thin strips of metal, making the jewels look like they are floating above the wearer’s skin when fashioned underneath an outfit’s neckband.
Taking over 1,900 hours of work to finish, The Collar can be separated into two separate neck adornments.
The new release, focused on ceremonial garb, slots in well with the other editions of Histoire De Style, which have been inspired by Queen Elizabeth II (see story) and the Maharaja of Patiala (see story).
Boucheron has released a podcast to further push the campaign and add context to the creative direction.As a part of the “Boucheron True Stories” programming, an episode titled “Couture as Heritage” breaks down the maison’s founder’s connection to the world of high textiles. Available to stream now on Spotify, Boucheron’s audio series has been running for nearly four years, making it a longstanding member of the ever-popular podcast space.
“Because ‘earshare’ has become the new “mindshare” for many brands who want to connect with their audience through the medium of podcasts, Boucheron has captured the opportunity to develop in-depth brand storytelling that many luxury consumers will be excited to listen to,” The O Group’s Mr. Bruck said.
“For such a layered and sophisticated edition like ‘The Power of Couture,’ their podcast uncovers and expands on every aspect of the creative process — concept, production, design and historic inspiration — and works as an excellent complement to all other forms brand marketing and even elevates the overall perception of the pieces individually and the brand in general.”
Many others have been present in the auditory broadcast world.
French fashion house Louis Vuitton is among those engaging with the form of media. For its show, the label has discussed runway presentations and its family history at length (see story).
French fashion house Chanel joins in with its own podcast, connecting its clothing to its culinary endeavors (see story). Meanwhile, Italian automaker Lamborghini has discussed a fully electric future during its recordings (see story).
Original article published in Luxury Daily, January 25, 2024