Dior's latest high jewellery collection takes our eyes for a stroll in the Gardens of Versailles
With the launch of her new collection for Dior Haute Joaillerie, Victoire de Castellane is taking us for a stroll in the celebrated Gardens of Versailles
A masterwork of French landscape architect André Le Nôtre, the Gardens of Versailles are infused with the Cartesian precision and artistic verve of the trained painter and architect that Le Nôtre was. Geometric patterns are laid out in symmetrical order and amplified by the optical effects created by the landscaper's tricks of 'collimation' and 'anamorphis'. The viewer can't help stepping back when confronted with the arresting power of such grandeur, in an attempt to grasp the whole vision.
Yet, when venturing through the mazes, one's eye is caught by the surprises created by colourful flowers overrunning the meticulously planned order — to please Louis XIV's women, some guides whisper.
"It is not enough to love gardens or to have them; you need to have eyes to look at them and legs to walk through them," Voltaire once wrote in a letter to English architect William Chambers.
Luckily, though, thanks to Versailles Act II, you can rest your legs and wander with your eyes into the Versailles gardens sculpted in Dior high jewellery gems. With stones cut to fit imagery-rich designs, we only have to glance at a bracelet to be immediately be taken on a walk over a path of emeralds, edged by stones of diamonds, leading to a lake of opal surrounded by frothing sculpted crystal rocks and diamonds, and through multicoloured sapphire flowers.
Conceiving earrings as a 'couple' rather than a 'pair', Victoire de Castellane elevates the trend of mismatched earrings. She calls them 'talking earrings' and you can imagine one enthusing over diamonds, while the other waxing lyrical about emeralds. "I wanted that, in each jewel, we rediscover the paradoxical combining of nature and culture, so typical of Le Nôtre," explains the artistic director.
Who knows if Voltaire would have approved of this innovative way to enjoy gardens? But we definitely do.