Victoire de Castellane’s Magic Garden

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Published March 3, 2011

 

Victoire de Castellane, who has been the creative force behind Dior’s haute joaillerie collection for the past 12 years, stepped out the other night with “Fleur d’excès,” a fantastic collection of bijoux objects on view at Gagosian in Paris through March 22. The jewels, resting on precious stone boxes, can be worn or left to glimmer in your salon as part of the décor. The dozen pieces, shown under hothouse plant glass on stark white tables at the Paris gallery’s project space, tap into Castellane’s phantasmagorical way with flowers, which she depicts in exotic precious stones and brilliant metal and enamel, reproducing such extraneous patterns as beer and soda can graphics crushed into flora.

“All of a sudden I wanted to go further and present something more intimate and bigger,” says Castellane. “I love the idea that jewelry can be used every day. When it isn’t being worn, it’s usually hiding in a safe, or a box inside your closet. I think jewels should be enjoyed all the time. And when they’re gleaming on a box nearby, you can ask yourself: Do I want to wear that today?'”

Castellane got her start early, when her father sent her a snake necklace with a green stone. “It was just a plastic snake, but I found it so exotic, like Cleopatra’s jewelry,” she says. By the age of six, she was already restless to put her stamp on design. “It began when I discovered a pair of pliers at my grandparent’s house. I took apart the gold charm bracelet my mother made me and put it back together my way. I guess by this time I had fallen in love with jewelry and couldn’t imagine wearing anything I didn’t make myself.”