For Claire Choisne, Creative director at Boucheron since 2011, the working day is about marrying artistic freedom with constant innovation and respecting a philosophy that was created 160 years ago. It’s a contemporary version of the approach taken by Frédéric Boucheron, and reflects the renewal underway at 26, place Vendôme.
What’s your view of the renovation at 26, place Vendôme?
I think it has been carried out with a great deal of respect. There has been no desire to play tricks with the volumes or to modernize in an artificial way. While the building is old, the approach being taken is very modern for a House of Haute Joaillerie: 26, place Vendôme is focused on the experience, not on its status. It doesn’t feel like a sales environment, it’s more like a family home, with a very warm atmosphere that brings out the value of our creations. It’s very coherent with the way we design our jewelry.
And is it coherent with your customers as well?
When you look at our customers, you realize that there isn’t just one type of Boucheron woman. However, while they are all different, they all have one point in common; they all love the jewelry for the jewels themselves, and they love to wear them. They love beautiful pieces, which is good for us, as we at Boucheron enjoy going to great lengths to create our jewelry! It fits in perfectly with my creative ideas and the values I believe in: emotion, authenticity and creativity. It’s not about selling gold and diamonds, but an original piece that our customers will enjoy wearing.
What are the implications for your creative approach?
I completely agree with Frédéric Boucheron’s phrase: “I propose, I don’t impose.” And anyway, the traditional approach is becoming less and less accepted in Luxury in general and jewelry in particular. I’m encouraging people to break certain codes for Haute Joaillerie, and to turn their back on a certain, more academic, approach. Today, it should be possible to mix Haute Joaillerie with simple jewelry, to combine different collections, and to wear jewelry just as you wish. The new “Jack de Boucheron” necklace is a good example of that: it’s a modular piece, with a clasp in the shape of an audio jack; it’s very easy to use, and to combine. You can wear it however you like! It can be a short or long necklace (or worn in combination with others), a bracelet, or even a belt. It’s a question of freedom.
How do you reconcile the spirit of Boucheron House with the need for modernity?
I don’t force myself to be modern… Because Boucheron has always been modern. When you look at the archives, this House has always been ahead of its time, whether in terms of its designs, or the techniques and materials used. Some of my favorite pieces were invented by Frédéric Boucheron! He drew a lot of inspiration from nature and I’ve seen how he used that theme, particularly for his early pieces which evoked the ivy. I could see that he was trying to be as realistic as possible, with the techniques available at the time. With the “Triumphant Nature” collection, designed for the 160th anniversary of Boucheron, we have revived this idea and taken it as far as possible. We have produced representations of flowers that are as close to reality as they can be, using the techniques available today. Ultimately, from a purely aesthetic perspective, today’s pieces don’t look like those of yesterday. But all the collections share the same underlying philosophy. And it’s the philosophy of 26, place Vendôme.
What degree of freedom do you have within the House?
It is exceptional. The development of the “Triumphant Nature” collection, with all the work involved, represented a very significant investment – and with no certainty either about the end result. Hélène Poulit-Duquesne gave me complete freedom. She is looking for authenticity and she supports my freedom to create. This philosophy corresponds closely to that expressed by Kering, a group with a very human touch, and which allows its creative people a great deal of freedom. There is a very real, virtuous connection and alignment between the Kering philosophy, the spirit and identity of Boucheron, the ambition expressed by Hélène, my creative approach and, of course, our customers!