Muse Lagerfeld, the heart and soul of Dior’s jewelry line, Victoire de Castellane, who struggled to keep up with her schoolwork but adored her grandmother, can create jewelry without drawings or tools. All the engineering is in her head… Victoire de Castellane is a life and a story!
Let’s delve into the life and work of Victoire de Castellane, a creative genius who can conjure up stunning pieces without the aid of sketches or tools, relying solely on her ingenuity and vision. She’s a woman with a fascinating history, and her creative journey is a testament to her incredible talent and imagination.
I create my own jewelry as unique and distinct characters, each with its own name.
At the age of 5, I was already choosing my own jewelry and telling my mom which earrings I wanted to wear.
At Dior, she has revolutionized the world of jewelry with her unique and innovative designs, fearlessly combining the art of jewelry-making with fashion and architecture. Her ArchiDior collection showcases her ability to create pieces that are not only breathtakingly beautiful, but also structurally complex and architecturally inspired. Her creations are true works of art, pushing the boundaries of what we consider jewelry and challenging our expectations of what is possible.
Fans and experts alike know that she is a force to be reckoned with, and her designs have been the subject of countless articles and analyses. But today, we have the privilege of hearing from Victoire de Castellane herself. Through her words, we get a glimpse of the creative process and the many facets of her talent, just as dazzling and multifaceted as the opals she so adores.
What kind of women do you admire, and why?
I’ve always been drawn to unconventional women or those who portrayed themselves as such. My heroines were both Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor. Of course, I loved bold, flashy women like Marilyn Monroe. For me, it’s not so much about their age, beauty, or mannerisms, but their inner uniqueness that inspires me. When I looked at my heroines’ clothing and accessories, I felt like they were protecting and guarding their wearers. I had a similar feeling when I put on my great-grandmother’s rings. I felt like her presence was with me. That’s why I want my jewelry to give some strength to the woman who wears it, maybe even help her escape from reality. Ultimately, it could become one of the roads to freedom because when a woman leaves, she can always take her jewelry with her.
When you joined Dior, did your vision of design change significantly?
Absolutely. While I was just starting my work at Chanel, when I joined Dior, I was able to generate and develop many new, sometimes unexpected ideas. I wanted to explore all the unconventional, and even eccentric, aspects of the Dior philosophy.
What inspires your new ideas?
Absolutely everything: paintings, exhibitions, movies, photography, women on the streets, of course, love, sexuality, life itself, in all its manifestations. I create my jewelry as unique and distinct characters, to whom I can give my own names.
You’ve said that many of your works are related to childhood impressions and imaginative play. How does this manifest in your jewelry?
Yes, that’s absolutely true. However, this is more related to a general vision. As a child, I was fascinated by truly elegant women. I paid attention to every detail. My grandmother was an example of taste and femininity for me. She didn’t look like a typical grandma, she could change her outfits up to three times a day, her nails were always impeccable, and of course, she wore jewelry! Large stones looked harmonious and matched her inner strength. By the way, in addition to my grandmother, there was another woman whose way of wearing jewelry I remember – my grandmother’s friend Barbara Hutton. A millionaire, the wife of Cary Grant, she wore stunningly complex emerald tiaras.
The stones take on free-form shapes like petals that come together to form miniature stained-glass windows, giving the jewelry a more romantic feel.
Inspired by these women, did you try to make jewelry yourself as a child?
(Laughs) Yes, of course! At 5 years old, I already chose my own jewelry and told my mom which earrings I would like to wear, and at 12, I was able to make two rings from a very unusual bracelet, which my mom also gave me.
Who is your favorite jeweler, whose jewelry do you like?
I really like Lalique’s work… Also, of course, I admire the works of the jeweler Rene Boivin.
Your favorite stone is opal. Why?
It’s a very poetic, fairy-tale, and magical stone. Looking at it, I see the horizon, oceans, archipelagos, reflections of stars in the water… It reflects the soul of nature and is organically connected to the feminine. Opals are beautiful and mysterious. It’s not easy to work with them, but the result justifies all the difficulties. They seem alive, like in Monet’s painting «Water Lilies»: the color becomes alive light, coming from somewhere inside.
Opals are beautiful and mysterious. Working with them is not easy, but the end result makes it all worthwhile.
by Vera Kamenkova