FINE FILIGREE

Dior’s sensual take on vintage lace and high jewellery

A look at the making of the Dentelle Tulle necklace

Looking at the haute couture collections unveiled in mid to late 2018, ‘romantic’ would not be the first description that comes to mind. Cut, volume, and monochromatic palettes have ruled the runway in the past year, evoking seriousness, power, and technology. And as many accessory designs tend to go hand in hand with fashion trends, one would expect to see the same elements in high jewellery boutiques.

That may be why Dior’s choice to fashion an entire collection around lace seems, in retrospect, revolutionary.

First displayed in April 2018 as part of a 220-piece exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, Dior Dior Dior is an unapologetic celebration of times past. Its central theme is lace — antithetical to many current runway pieces, but central to the identity of the brand. Christian Dior, after all, caused controversy 70 years ago when he debuted his New Look, departing from the post-war preference for sleek silhouettes and reviving instead the bygone styles of cinched waists and long, voluminous skirts.

 

Dentelle Tulle necklacec in white gold, diamonds, and sapphire

With Dior Dior Dior, the brand’s creative director, Victoire de Castellane, appears to be pulling off a similar move. The collection mimics the intricate weaves of lace, as well as the soft way it drapes over one’s skin. Necklaces and bracelets look like collars and cuffs. Some pieces have diamond discs drilled down the middle to look like sequins embedded in fabric.

“I wanted to capture the sensation of ethereal lightness and the haute couture signature of lace which, like ribbons, silk and draping, is essential to the Dior lexicon,” says Castellane. To achieve this, precious metals are fashioned like silken threads of embroidery and woven into open-worked structures.

 

Dentelle Tulle ring in yellow and white gold, diamonds, Paraiba-type tourmalines, emeralds, tsavorite garnets, pink sapphires, and spessartite garnets

Just as noticeably, the collection uses a wide variety of coloured stones, further lending it a romantic, nostalgic aura. For instance, a single piece, the Dentelle Tulle ring, contains yellow and white gold diamonds, Paraiba-type tourmalines, emeralds, tsavorite garnets, pink sapphires, and spessartite garnets. This is the most colourful piece in the collection, shimmering in shades of green, yellow, pink, orange, and blue-green.

All this isn’t to say, though, that there’s nothing modern or trendy about Dior Dior Dior. In fact, once you look past the lace look, you’ll discover that the collection presents non-traditional ways of wearing jewellery.

 

Dior white gold, diamond and pink spinel Dentelle Guipure Hand Jewel ring and bracelet

For instance, the Dentelle Guipure Pink Spinel Hand Jewel is a bracelet connected to a ring. Another piece is a palm jewel, while yet another is a bracelet made to look like a piece of lace cloth casually wrapped around one’s wrist. Many of the earrings in the collection are asymmetrical — a signature aesthetic of Castellane’s. And of course, producing the jewellery with such intricate details requires exceptional skill and technical finesse.

Still, it’s safe to say that the collection is meant to evoke the romance and nostalgia of bygone eras. For some, Dior Dior Dior reflects the brand founder’s favourite things — fashion, balls, and gardens. For others, the collection harks back to a time of less cynicism and more hope. And perhaps, in times like these, a dose of nostalgia and romanticism is just what we all need.