15 Minutes With… Claire Choisne, Creative Director Of Boucheron

Claire Choisne Creative Director Boucheron 1
Boucheron creative director Claire Choisne

You never really know what to expect from a jewellery collection designed by Claire Choisne. The creative director of Boucheron since 2011, Choisne has become synonymous with high jewellery that is audacious, full of surprises and breathtakingly beautiful. Whether it’s the brand’s annual heritage‑ and legacy‑inspired Histoire de Style high jewellery collection, traditionally launched in January, or the unbridled Carte Blanche high jewellery collection, presented each July, Choisne has turned out successive collections that are sumptuous and simply fun to discover. After drawing from Boucheron’s archives to design previous Histoire de Style collections (including one inspired by a pair of aquamarine and diamond brooches the late Queen Elizabeth II cherished and often wore), Choisne turned her attention to clothing for The Power of Couture, the recently released fourth edition of the Histoire de Style collection.

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This latest chapter puts the focus on the origins of Boucheron itself and how couture sits at the heart of the Maison: Founder Frédéric Boucheron’s father, Louis, was a draper in Paris who worked with silk and lace, and that undoubtedly influenced Frédéric to prioritise fluidity and suppleness and incorporate stylistic details such as bows and ribbons when he began creating jewellery.

Within apparel, Choisne reimagined specifically the details of ceremonial attire and ornaments—medals, buttons, woven cords and more—as 24 precious pieces of modern high jewellery for The Power of Couture. “It was while exploring our archives that I was especially struck by various medals, aiguillettes, epaulettes and more worn by esteemed clients of the maison, particularly members of royal families,” she explains. “I had a photo of Prince Philip (the late Duke of Edinburgh) in full ceremonial attire, adorned with so many medals and embroideries, which played a significant role in my interest in ceremonial dressing.”

Through her vision, Choisne created a collection that subverts expectations and expertly balances contradiction. “When I observed ceremonial attire, what appealed to me was the paradox inherent in such dressing: a general sense of strictness, and then, when taken piece by piece, an accumulation of sophisticated ornaments,” she says. “While deconstructing this symbol of power, I imagined a new symbol of style.” Going even further, Choisne eschewed colour entirely, and limited her materials to rock crystal, diamonds and white gold, resulting in a palette that is a far cry from the brightly coloured full dress uniforms, often accented with gold, seen during parades and ceremonies.

BOUCHERON Histoire de Style The Power of Couture 4 5 Noeud Boutons Aiguillette

“A white monochrome palette lightens up the creations. That’s how The Power of Couture focuses on the uniformity of materials and colour,” she expounds, adding that the colour scheme is a first for the brand. “My idea was to bring style, purity and modernity into this new chapter of Boucheron’s Histoire de Style. [This would not have been possible] if I had used coloured gems, even small stones.”

Rock crystal is of particular importance to the maison (and to Choisne, who calls clear quartz one of her favourite stones). Once considered not precious enough for high jewellery but esteemed by the brand’s founder, rock crystal has appeared in Boucheron pieces since the 1860s. “[Frédéric] admired the purity and transparency of the mineral. I wanted to pay tribute to his innovative spirit, as I prize the contrast between the solidity of diamonds and the softness of rock crystal,” Choisne says. But rather than employ rock crystal in select pieces, as she had done in the Histoire de Style – New Maharajahs collection, she pushed ahead to use the material throughout The Power of Couture. “I was interested by the technical use of this material. My creative choices led the craftsmen to adopt an atypical approach to [it]: In some pieces, it is polished, while in others, it is frosted or sculpted.”

BOUCHERON Histoire de Style The Power of Couture Noeud
BOUCHERON Histoire de Style – The Power of Couture Nœud transformable brooch in white gold with diamonds and rock crystal

A star example of the figurative flexibility of rock crystal is the Nœud, the most complex piece of the collection. Shaped like a giant bow, it features 435 frosted baguette‑cut rock crystals, each individually hand‑cut and fitted into the white‑gold frame trimmed with baguette‑cut diamonds.

“My intention was a graphic reinterpretation of the knot design and grosgrain, which are emblematic couture elements. I also wanted to recreate the radiance of the ribbon with a play of texture and light,” Choisne says. “This is the reason why the workshops of the Maison created this juxtaposing of the matte effect of frosted rock crystal with the sparkle of diamonds.”

BOUCHERON Histoire de Style The Power of Couture Broderies
BOUCHERON Histoire de Style – The Power of Couture Broderies transformable brooch in white gold with diamonds and rock crystal

And as with preceding high jewellery collections, transformability and versatility were top of mind. The fern‑shaped Broderies, for instance, can be worn as brooches or hair jewels, while the 15‑piece Boutons set can be styled as individual buttons that can serve as adornments for both garments and the hair, or with the Aiguillette braid or the Épaulettes shoulder pieces—which can also transform into a pair of bracelets.

Meanwhile, the Nœud, Choisne shares, offers six different ways of wear: in its full glory, as a bow necklace with longer or shorter ends, or deconstructed and styled as a brooch, a shoulder adornment, a bracelet or a ring, with the central diamond mounted as a solitaire.

The Power of Couture collection, Choisne adds, is a jewellery box with which people can design their own look. “I wanted to open a new vision of couture. For me, couture means self‑expression and that’s how I created a high jewellery collection that encourages individuals to express their unique personalities,” she explains. “I like exploring the limits of high jewellery. Until I find them, I keep exploring.”

This article was first seen on Grazia.sg

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