Design for life

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Boucheron is a name that has been scorched into the jewellery industry for over 100 years. One of their most recognisable collections is the Serpent collection which originated in 1968 at the height of the glamorous golden era of Hollywood. The collection originally focused on the detail of the body of a snake, the shape of the head and the curves of the serpent – which was a key motif of the Boucheron brand before it was even established.

In 1888 Frédéric Boucheron made for his wife, Gabrielle – with whom he was deeply in love – a serpent necklace to protect her while he was away on business. The unusual design and the sentimental value meant that when Boucheron launched his jewellery maison in Paris, the serpent would become a memorable piece of his brand.

For a brand, it can be difficult to create a new collection based on an already successful line of jewellery. There’s the added pressure not only to create something new but also to reinvent an already much beloved collection. We asked Boucheron’s Creative Director, Claire Choisne, what it was like recreating the collection and how she approached this challenge.

“First I would prefer to say that I completed the existing collection rather than recreating it,’ explains Choisne. ‘When I create a piece, I try to build a bridge between past and present creations from a technical point of view or from an aesthetic one. For the Serpent Bohème collection, I was looking to keep the spirit of the line that launched in 1968 while adding a contemporary twist to the new creations.

“With the High Jewellery versions of Serpent Bohème, the goal was to keep the feminine and vintage essence of the collection while bringing out the daring aspect. I like big pieces, the ones you can wear every day with a pair of jeans as well as for a special occasion with a black dress. These new pieces take up the codes of the collection and bear them as emblems. The drop is bigger and looks impressive, as does the oversized twisted chain that recalls the designs of the 70s.

“The first step to creating a piece is to delve into the books of the Maison – these are such a great source of inspiration for me. However, I look to add my own contemporary twist into the design. At the studio, we work to find the perfect balance of design. Serpent Bohème is a Boucheron collection par excellence. It has that timeless je ne sais quoi that has enabled it to transcend the times and trends.

“The original design is so well proportioned and its visual codes are so emblematic that infinite variations of Serpent Bohème could be created without it ever being denatured. This year, we have enjoyed playing with dimensions.’
Boucheron launch new collections regularly, such as the Ava, the hugely successful Quatre Ring, and, more recently, the Swan collection. What would make Boucheron want to reinvent a pre-existing collection?

“When I arrived at Boucheron in 2011, the Serpent Bohème ring was one of my favourite pieces for its bold design. I found the vintage aspect a perfect starting point to develop the modern day collection. I was looking to keep the essence of the collection – which is the diamond-filled drop crowned with gold beads – while adapting it to a more contemporary way to wear it, such as the long necklace or the little rings that you can stack together.”

by Anna Coughlan

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Glass Online fashion writer

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