Boucheron's Bond Street make-over
bring a touch of Paris to their Bond Street boutique with an
entirely new design for both the inside and outside of the shop.
Light streams in through the golden screens and lights up the
diamonds and brightly coloured precious stones burning away in
exotic designs and precious creations.
But first a bit of history: the House of Boucheron, one of the
historic Place Vendome jewellers, for 150 years has been the place
to go for sensual and enigmatic jewels and the choice of film
stars, maharajas and billionaires. But don't expect stuffy, formal
jewels because Boucheron pride themselves on being the most sensual
of jewellers which is what attracts those after something with a
little 'frisson' and excitement.
Colourful stones, clever designs and opulent materials make for
highly desirable jewels that appeal to the most extravagant and
sophisticated tastes. Think golden, gem-fanged serpents wreathed
around the wrist, bejeweled tassels dangling in a voluptuous
décolleté and brightly coloured macaroon rings with a greedy bite
taken out of them. Boucheron is about indulgence and above all
Founded in Paris in 1858 by Frédéric Boucheron, the house was
the first to move in to Place Vendome after the sweep of elegant
buildings across from the Ritz Hotel was inaugurated in 1898.
Frederic Boucheron chose the corner of Place Vendome for his
boutique because it received the most sunlight through its high
windows to showcase his the brilliance and size of his stones.
But today we are in the London boutique to have a look at the
results of the complete revamp that has taken place. Boucheron
opened its first boutique on Bond Street in London in 1903 and the
refurbishment is in the spirit of Frederic Boucheron's original
Place Vendome boutique. Like the Parisian boutique it is
situated on a corner, in this case Bond Street and Grafton
And like Place Vendome, the new boutique is full of light as
luminosity was an important part of the design brief. The entire
building has been re-clad in a light coloured marble that actually
looks like the warm stones of the buildings of Place Vendome and
these brass window frames echo those in Place Vendome. Light
filters through the woven gold French lace and Arabic macharabieh
lattice, exactly as it does in the mother store in Paris.
Boucheron is different from the other historic jewellers as
their designs are playful, elegant, brilliantly colourful, and
above all sensual. Rather than just rely on their rich history and
archives recent partnerships include Max Busser, Marc Newson and
even the Cirque du Soleil and British Jewellery Shaun Leane. So
unique are the House of Boucheron's creations that they enjoy a
clientele that has included the British Royal Family, Queen Farida
of Egypt, Queen Rania of Jordan, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Rita
Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Kristen Scott
As for the products, Boucheron's designs stand out for
their audacity. Facetting gold itself, much like you would a stone,
is a house staple as seen in the Quatre line where gold sculpted
into a gadroon, or pyramid shape, or into lines, points or facets.
This is also the workmanship seen in the famous Reflet watches
created in 1947 with the case of ribbed with gold bands.
Boucheron is all about women, be they the feminine artifices of
seduction and the power of suggestion of the boudoir. The Mystic
Orient is another theme running through Boucheron's history. Women
like Nefertiti or Cleopatra, and dreams of the East inspire richly
decorated jewels. Curves are enhanced by precious stones in
spirals, arabesques or tassels.
I love the story about the Maharajah of Patiala who in
1928 arrived with six chests laden with pearls, diamonds and
emeralds to have set into Boucheron creations and it is the spirit
of fabulous jewels and magnificent indulgence that you can still
see in the designs.The Cinna Pampilles picks up the spirit of the
light yet opulent drop-shape gems created by Boucheron for the
Maharajah. Palatial decorations and the richness of zellige-style
patterns are rediscovered in the shaded colors of Sheherazade.
Trouble Desire speaks through jewels of the torment of passion.
And then of course there are the famous animals of the Cabinet
of Curiosities.But these are not majestic panthers or pretty
fairies but weird and wonderful creatures, often those that only
appear after dusk. With the spirit of 'art nouveau' and exotic
exploration in the air, Frédéric Boucheron himself designed
enamel and diamond beetles, serpents and dragonflies. Like an art
collection, this Cabinet of Curiosities is enriched with new pieces
each year - the owl, chameleon, swan, frog and snail with a shell
set with diamonds are the most recent arrivals.
And then of course there is the famous serpent, the house
symbol since 1878. The serpent dazzles and coils up within its
shimmering scales while at the same time healing and tempting,
venomous and redeeming. In theTrouble gold ring and the Pythie ring
where it wraps its body around the stone in a protective manner,
the bewitching beauty of the serpent has inspired creations
shrouded in mystery and inspired the famous question mark necklace
without a clasp.