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“Making jewelry is very fashionable right now, a bit like being an interior decorator in the 1990s.” Meet the designer Charlotte Chesnais

 

A former collaborator of Nicolas Ghesquière, Charlotte Chesnais has got very successful very quickly with her jewelry. Winner of the ANDAM accessories prize in 2015, the Parisian designer is today unveiling her first pieces in gold and precious stones.

Charlotte Chesnais by Saskia Lawaks.

 

 

Numéro: How did you go from the Balenciaga studio, where you worked on ready-to-wear alongside Nicolas Ghesquière, to launching your own jewellery brand in 2015?

 

Charlotte Chesnais: My career started very much in ready-to-wear with Vincent Darré when he was artistic director at Ungaro, then at Balenciaga where I got down to working on special projects and dresses for VIPs. After I’d been working for him for about three or four years, Nicolas Ghesquière was looking for someone in his teams to do the jewelry for one of his runway shows. He asked me if I wanted to have a go and it just felt so spontaneous. I became passionate about jewelry. 

 

 

What was it you liked about jewelry? 

 

I like the fact that it’s an object with its own shape, a tiny sculpture, unlike clothing. I’ve always adored design and architecture, and jewelry making is closer to these disciplines than fashion. I also quickly realised that I was much better at creating jewelry than I was at clothes [laughs]. I work without drawing, directly with little models, in a very intuitive way. I might start by doing a ring and then it will transform into an earring… My collections are like “works in progress”.

 

You’ve very innovative in the way we wear jewelry, particularly with your famous Bond bracelet, that encircles the wrist before extending in circles to the base of the thumb. Is that important to you?

 

It is important yes, because doing jewelry today is a very fashionable profession, like in the 1990s when everyone wanted to be an interior designer… The market is totally saturated with offers, so you have to stand out. The idea of a new way of wearing things wasn’t invented by me; it’s very present with the jewelry designers of my generation. But it is something that’s close to my heart. 

How do you develop your lines while preserving your iconic pieces?

 

The quality of the pieces is important, to make them timeless: I work with silver and silver gilt (silver covered with a regulated amount of gold, certified with a seal], while the costume pieces are in brass. With my latest collection I also started to do jewelry in 18 carat gold and precious stones. I introduce new pieces every season all while trying to establish my iconic designs like the Bond bracelet and the Saturne earrings as recurring elements. I have to keep a balance between the spontaneity of my brand, which is still very young, and the timeless aspect of jewelry, that touches me very deeply. 

 

www.charlottechesnais.fr

 

Interview by Delphine Roche

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