With glorious creations befitting its name, Boucheron’s latest high jewellery collection, New Maharajahs, looks set to be the crown jewel of the bling set’s wardrobe. Creative Director Claire Choisne chats with BAZAAR about its inspirations and aspirations.
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This new collection was inspired by a historical Boucheron event: A 1928 commission by the Maharajah of Patiala. How did you feel going into this project?
When I joined Boucheron 10 years ago, this was one of the first stories I heard and it’s like a fairy tale. He was staying at The Ritz and came to Boucheron [with trunks] full of gemstones, with his huge guards, and commissioned the biggest special order ever (the largest in Place Vendôme’s history). The story is totally amazing. There are a lot of designs, so it was like climbing a mountain—to find a solution and to give modernity to the collection; it wasn’t so easy. But I thought to myself: “OK, no problem, you won’t do the same number of designs (there are 149), nor with the same size stones because that’s not the point. You just have to lend your vision to the subject.” And I was happy in the end because [the results are] more delicate, purer, and I think people will quite easily be able to wear the pieces today, which is important to me. Don’t be afraid of your history, you know?
But what sparked this collection?
We started designing it at the beginning of Covid and I didn’t think about it; I didn’t intellectualise it, but I love the story, the fairy tale, and maybe it was a dream I needed [then]. Also, it’s interesting to show people that you can’t summarise Boucheron that easily because we have a lot of things in the archives that are quite different. It’s cool; I love it.
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You mentioned giving modernity to the collection; tell us more about how you went about doing that.
That was really the point for me. Of course, I was impressed with the designs that Boucheron made for the maharajah, but I wouldn’t wear the exact designs today. They were huge and impressive, and historically, they’re “wow”. But from a design point of view, for me, it was too much. And you can feel that, obviously, those designs were made to serve a status purpose; to show how powerful you are. For me, that’s not what I like in jewellery. I prefer jewellery to be more selfish; jewellery that you buy for yourself to explain your style and who you are. And I wanted to inject something more subtle and more relevant for today.
What do you hope people will feel when they see the New Maharajahs in its entirety?
It’s not a feeling, but if they dream and travel in their minds a little because of this modern fairy tale, I’ll be happy.