Christian Dior once said that to tie a ribbon takes real art. What then would he have thought of Dior Soie? This collection attempts not so much to tie a ribbon, as to portray it in various states of unfurling, pleating, and contorting — all with the use of gold and precious stones, not with the softest of silks.
As a fine jewellery collection, Dior Soie hits the typical marks — a distinct theme, a variety of high-quality gems, detailed and careful craftsmanship, and, of course, stunning centrepiece stones. Yet it manages to be unpredictable, especially in form and colour. Take, for instance, the Dénoué necklaces, which feature either a white diamond or a sapphire — depending on the version — almost casually suspended between the ends of a ruffling, twisting, diamond-studded gold strand. Or the Pli Plat Rose bracelet and Pli Plat Rose ring, which offer a striking palette of yellow gold, diamonds, yellow diamonds, emeralds, and pink sapphire.
For this unpredictability, the brand’s fans have Dior fine jewellery creator Victoire de Castellane to thank. When she joined Dior Joaillerie in 1998 after 14 years at Chanel, De Castellane introduced the world to her imagination, which eschewed jewellery conventions. She designed ultra small pieces such as the world’s smallest ring, as well as rings with 80ct stones. She combined floral motifs with pop culture, and brought together semi-precious stones and rare jewels.
In 2011, having by then gained a reputation as a fearless and unconventional designer, De Castellane decided to surprise clients and competitors once more, this time by returning to basics and creating a collection around Mr Dior’s favourite flower, the rose.
The softer, feminine — but by no means less delightful or surprising — themes have continued in recent years, including with the Dior Soie. But in the hands of De Castellane and Dior’s artisans, even a seemingly ubiquitous item like a flower or silk ribbon becomes a unique creation that tests the limits of design and craftsmanship. Being handmade, the Dior Soie pieces are truly one of a kind, with no two being exactly the same.
The collection features sets with names borrowed from the world of couture, referencing smocks, braids, satin, knots, and folds. Some of these feature varying shades of the same hue, such as the Plumetis range that comes with diamonds, tsavorite garnets, and emeralds, as well as the Smock set that predominantly uses yellow and orange diamonds. Others play on contrast, like the Volant’s juxtaposition of sapphires and emeralds, and the Tresse’s pairing of purple and pink sapphires.
In De Castellane’s words, her sources of inspiration include “Technicolour, Alice in Wonderland, manga characters, the Brothers Grimm, Walt Disney Pictures, Venus Flytraps, Bassett’s Liquorice allsorts, the visual excesses of Bollywood, and the darkest depths of the subconscious”. Not everyone can handle such a depth and breadth of imagination, and fewer still can render these themes into real art. Luckily for Dior fans, De Castellane is a real-world magic maker.
Image opener: Volant Emeraude earrings in white gold, diamonds, emerald, and sapphires