PARIS — For Victoire de Castellane, Dior’s haute couture tradition is an endless source of inspiration. Witness her latest collection, Dior Print, which accomplishes the technical feat of transposing fabric patterns such as stripes, floral patterns, checks and tie-dye onto three-dimensional high jewelry pieces.
The French fashion house unveiled the line, which at 137 pieces is its largest high jewelry collection to date, at a gala event at the Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina, Sicily, on Saturday.
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Models wearing ivory-colored dresses designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s artistic director of womenswear, posed like Greek statues during the cocktail portion of the event. Dinner, held on a terrace high over the Mediterranean, was followed by a runway show where monochrome dresses set off ornate necklaces in the shape of colorful ribbons.
Courtesy of Dior
During a fitting in Paris two weeks before the event, de Castellane said she loved the idea of showing her creations on live models.
“All of a sudden, the jewelry really comes into its own because it is worn, because the light catches the models’ gestures — it’s alive. Insofar that we’re a couture house that makes jewelry, there’s no reason not to combine the two. For me, it’s a no-brainer,” she said.
Movement is at the heart of her designs, which represented a new challenge for the house’s workshops in Paris, which were required to adapt the size and setting of the stones to reproduce the print motifs in miniature on curved surfaces. “When ribbons undulate, the print must follow,” the designer stipulated.
Interlocking ribbons in floral prints and rainbow-hued stripes of precious stones form the masterpiece necklace, which comes in three colors of gold and is articulated using a specialized technique borrowed from watchmaking.
“I love toying with the house codes in each collection. Since we’re a fashion house, I’ve played a lot with the movement of ribbons,” de Castellane explained. “We’ve never done printed ribbons, and I thought it was fun to mix in the different motifs.”
Courtesy of Dior
Other pieces are set around dazzling center stones, like the 8.02-carat lilac sapphire from Madagascar on the pistil of the Dior Print Emerald necklace.
De Castellane mixed the new designs with variations on previous collections, like the Dior Dior Dior line from 2018, which explored lace; Tie & Dior, the 2020 collection focused on textile dye effects, and her most recent, Galons Dior, inspired by braids.
“I like to mix collections from different families because I think it also shows customers that they can live together,” she explained, noting that she reprised a cushion shape for a ring in a checked motif made of diamonds and sapphires.
Her playful touch was evident in a diamond and emerald piece with a briolette center stone that she said looked like it was “dipped in mint syrup.” Another featured a sapphire center stone, the blue spilling over into an asymmetrical arrangement of diamonds and smaller sapphires. “I designed it as if the stone was on blotting paper. It’s ‘leaking,’” she said with a smile.
In addition to seasonal collections, de Castellane produces a steady stream of one-off designs, which can be commissioned through the high jewelry workshop that is now housed at Dior’s renovated flagship on Avenue Montaigne. “We make sure there are unique pieces arriving all year long,” she said.