"Who said that real jewels have to be boring?"
Victoire de Castellane
I first became aware of Victoire de Castellane's amazing jewellery when I saw Katie Grand wearing a set of Dior flower rings made from bright and flourescent coloured enamel and gems. I thought they were incredible, I'd never seen anything quite like them.
Victoire de Castellane was Chanel's costume jewellery designer for fourteen years working with Karl Lagerfeld "It was an incredible experience. I learnt that it's important to have your own personality, to be yourself, not to be serious. Working at Chanel was fun. I was very happy and Karl showed me how to create with total freedom". Victoire was seduced away from Chanel by the President of LVMH by Bernard Arnault and became the designer and Creative Director for Dior's new Fine Jewellery department in 1999. They allowed her to create her own daring and dramatic style that shook up the staid Place Vendome.
Born into an aristocratic Parisian family, Victoire's first experience with making jewellery was when she dismantled her Grandmother's (Sylvia Hennessy from the Cognac family) priceless charm bracelet and made it into a pair of earrings, much to her mother's horror. Her grandmother's best friend was heiress Barbara Hutton and the two women's love for enormous gems began Victoire's lifelong passion for jewellery.
Barbara Hutton wearing the fifty-five carat Pasha diamond and the Vladimir emeralds
Victoire is inspired by the exuberance of technicolour, using the finest quality enamel with gems and semi precious stones like amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, periodots, beryl and aquamarine combined with hard stones (onyx and coral) and couture satin and velvet. "I prefer huge coloured stones instead of diamonds. And I like to wear and design things that look fake; like costume jewellery, but real."
Photography by Jean-Baptiste Mondino
Victoire wears Dior Fine Jewellery. Bodyguards wear, left, Yves Saint Laurent suit and shirt, Gucci sunglasses, Dior Homme by Hedi Slimane tie. Right, Dior Homme by Hedi Slimane suit, Lanvin shirt and tie, Ray Ban glasses.
Each collection tells a story or evokes a place. For her first collection in 1999, she evoked Christian Dior's garden at Milly-La-Forét, Fontainbleu, a whimsical country garden where gold bees gather honey from coral cherries and emerald leaves, as well as the atmosphere of Couture Ateliers where bows, corsets, feathers, frou frou lace are sewn with gold thread and embroidered in rubies and diamonds.
With John Galliano
Victoire's stunning, bold jewellery has found the perfect home and describes Dior's designer and maestro John Galliano as "a kindred spirit."
Q&A with Victoire de Castellane
from Elle Magazine
Who is your favourite designer?
If you could come back as a dress, what would it be?
Marilyn Monroe's dress at JFK's Birthday
If you could come back as a model, who would you be?
Bassetts licorice allsorts
What are you most vain about?
Being a girl
If you could have somebody elses body, whose would it be?
Lisa Marie Smith's
Fantasy celebrity one-night stand?
Favourite place to drink?
I never drink
What can't you travel without?
Last book you read?
Alaia's winter lookbook
No pets, only children; three boys named Stanislas, Boniface and Jules Victor and a little girl, Zoé.
What's for breakfast?
Fruit, coffee and biscuits
At age seven, you wanted to be?
A psychoanalyst or a surgeon
Biggest self indulgence?
Chocolate, Alaia dresses, high heeled shoes and cowboy boots
Favourite place to shop?
The land of the internet
What piece of art would you most like to own?
Favourite holiday destination?
Italy and a lot of places in the Mediterranean
Least favourite food?
Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Debbie Harry
What's your biggest regret?
No regrets. I have tried everything
Favourite trend of all time
Worst trend of all time
Wear opaque, brightly coloured tights to downplay a sexy dress
"I love nature in jewellery and in life. Flowers die in two days, but with jewellery they last forever"
Victoire de Castellane