The House of Dior has always recognised, understood and celebrated what modern femininity means. From founder Christian Dior’s hyper womanly hour-glass shaped Bar jacket in 1947 – the revelatory ‘New Look’ silhouette – to the brand’s current creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s audacious pairing of embroidered tulle skirts and slogan T-shirts, the legacy has been continually explored and reinterpreted, made relevant for each changing time.
Naturally, this passion is carried through to its jewellery collections, where Victoire de Castellane, creative director of Dior Joaillerie, has been formulating a collection of fabulous pieces inspired by the life and work of the brand’s founder Christian Dior – for example, honouring his love of flowers. The thread they all share is that they are steeped in the rich heritage of the House’s roots.
With her latest collection, Gem Dior, which takes its name from the eponymous high jewellery line that was launched two years ago, de Castellane has united themes of nature and couture, which were much loved by the House’s legendary founder.
Comprising seven watches and 11 jewellery pieces – the first time de Castellane has designed both together – they embody the power of pushing boundaries of design and craftsmanship. She plays in a modern way with angles and materials, creating what she has described as ‘an organised commotion’, which provided a huge technical challenge for the craftsmen in the Dior ateliers. Describing the style as ‘abstract organic’, de Castellane draws inspiration from the geometry of stones. Of course, the Dior craftsmen met the challenge and passed with flying colours.
Nature, specifically the formation of minerals, influences the emblematic watch design with its asymmetrical octagonal case, while couture is interpreted by the open, fully articulated and unique claspless cuff, as de Castellane creatively references the practice Dior cultivated of always pinning fabric swatches for his couture shows on to paper.
Colourful gemstones and minerals are applied to decorate the metal in irregular strata and colour formations, creating dynamic rectangular shapes and sizes, echoing the samples of materials Christian Dior gathered together. The heroine of the watch collection has to be the piece made with seams of ornamental gems such as lapis lazuli, malachite, carnelian, and tiger’s eye, creating intense decoration, elegant and harmonious disruption.
There are also more monochrome watches within the Gem Dior timepiece collection that are subtly chic. One simple yet striking design combines a 27mm stainless steel case with black lacquered mother-of-pearl polished Dauphone hands. Others include one featuring a pink gold case and a bezel set with full diamond pavé, or a gold and steel version with lapis lazuli, each also presented with an interchangeable black leather bracelet. Interestingly, it’s a collection that spans price points, with a more accessible selection starting from £3,400.
Above all, Gem Dior is about the beauty of contrasts on refined metalwork, expressed with spirit, sass and sensuality, the unassailable modern feminine sensibility.