Historic jewelled brooch

Model wearing large jewelled necklace

The creations of quintessentially Parisian jewellery maker Chaumet may have been fit for an empress in the late 18th century when the company was founded. But the jeweller aspires to be equally at home with the modern woman around the world. CEO Jean-Marc Mansvelt tells Irene Bellucci how they make the new out of the old
portrait of a man in a suit wearing glasses

Jean-Marc Mansvelt

“For me, luxury is about craftsmanship and excellence. But it’s more than functionality – it’s also about emotion. And luxury transcends fashion, too; it takes time to invent, create and make.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

“Chaumet’s founder Marie-Etienne Nitot trained under the jeweller to Marie Antoinette, and after the Revolution became Napoleon Bonaparte’s official jeweller in 1805. This led to numerous commissions from the great and the good, including jewels for Empress Joséphine, after whom one of our most iconic collections is named. The brand’s tiaras went on to be worn by queens and rulers across the globe.

Vintage diamond tiara

Laurel Leaf Tiara by Joseph Chaumet (1920)

“Yet, our history isn’t enough to sustain us in the 21st century; consumers’ tastes have changed as has the function of jewellery itself. Nowadays, a tiara is not really worn beyond special and rare occasions, so in 2010 we reinvented them by moving them from head to finger for our Joséphine ring collection. Once they were crowns expressing power, but now we have brought them into the modern era in a more delicate and wearable form.

“But not all of our pieces are reinventions. We try to mix tradition and contemporary art; we also like to look to the world of music for ideas. In referring just to the past, the risk is that we will repeat ourselves – we need to inject new elements into the process.”

View the collections: chaumet.com

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue

Share:
Reading time: 1 min
Italian designer Alessandra Rich
Italian designer Alessandra Rich's SS18 collection

Alessandra Rich ready-to-wear SS18 collection

Italian designer Alessandra Rich

Alessandra Rich

Alessandra Rich is the quintessential contemporary designer. Born in Italy, based in London and Milan, and showing in Paris, her designs bring joy and flair to womenswear. She is also noted for the meticulousness of her sourcing and her construction quality. LUX Editor-at-Large Gauhar Kapparova speaks to the designer.

1. Describe us the woman you design for. Who is the Alessandra Rich woman?

She is an independent woman, self-confident, clever and ironic. She loves to have fun with fashion and to be the woman that everyone looks at.

2. What are the challenges of a small independent fashion designer today?

My challenge is to be contemporary, I avoid being nostalgic or too “classic”, I want my brand to be unexpected. It’s difficult to compete against what everybody thinks fashion is, the size of the brand doesn’t matter.

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

3. Has the increased desire for ready-to-wear collections changed your designs?

All my collections are ready-to-wear, I want women to have fun wearing my pieces, during the day and at night.

Luxury womenswear by Italian designer Alessandra Rich

Alessandra Rich ready-to-wear SS18 collection

4. Your designs are chic, clever and quirky. How do you give it that timeless elegance?

My design comes from a personal research and from my interest in the contemporary. I consider fashion a language, so I just put together the right words.

Read more like this: 6 questions with LA’s hottest accessory designer Tyler Ellis

5. Do you design through your emotions or follow a formula?

It’s a mixture of emotions and rules, because every idea has to fit into a shape. It’s why in my last collection you can find formal jackets worn with hot pants or floral pleated dresses and sheer laces. It’s always a matter of balance.

6. What’s ahead for your brand? Do you have plans or are you living in the moment?

I have a vision that my business will grow, with a larger team and a larger view. I’m interested in creating a kind of factory, a place to be.

alessandrarich.com

Share:
Reading time: 1 min
London poetry muse
Jawdance poetry spoken word

Jawdance is a powerful blend of poetry and protest at a venue in east London. Image courtesy of Apples and Snakes

LUX’s Contributing Poet Rhiannon Williams discovers street poetry and protest is alive and thriving on the fringes of the international urban art scene.

As a young poet living in London, I have come to know the many hidden faces of our contemporary poetry landscape well. But nothing has struck home in the way that Jawdance has.

In the heart of Shoreditch, in East London, there is a dark stage. Feel an insistent bass, which picks up pace to keep time with an energy that builds and builds and doesn’t stop building. From the stage comes a spiky, eclectic hybrid between music, hip hop, art and poetry – and a rare glimpse into the soul of an arts scene which is uninhibited and so, so alive. Unseen, and yet bursting at the seams from a small room with a small stage full of big voices.

This is spoken word poetry, a poetic hybrid that speaks of and to people who are otherwise unheard. The talent of the poets you’ll find here is home-grown, full of heart, and iridescently free. Free from the dust of astringent commerciality which can so often choke artists. Free from the inhibitions of so-called ‘sensible society’; day jobs are all forgotten for tonight. As free as the rhymes which are so full of life they seem to transcend their meanings to reach a vivid corporeality. Oh, and it’s free to enter too, which leads to the creation of a rare welcoming charm, something lacking in a world where so many precious things are valued primarily by their marketability and not originality.

Jawdance, spoken word poetry

Always passionate, spoken word can be personal or political. Image courtesy of Apples and Snakes

It strikes you as reminiscent of the kind of golden poetry you would have found in San Francisco during its sixties scene, or Harlem during the Revival time of Langston Hughes; the real beauty is in the spontaneity. Spoken word as an art form has evolved since its first explosion onto the scene in the early 20th century primarily through the prisms of political change. Since then, its use as a form of protest and experimentation as well as just for a riot of a good time, bringing together a collective consciousness and feeling, has been a powerful influence over young creatives all over the world. And this characteristic of the genre is just as potent today. More than ever, the urgency is palpable, getting bigger and louder often in forgotten corners of our urban landscapes, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Read next: Grayson Perry’s political pots at the Sepertine Gallery

At Jawdance, presenter and poet Yomi Sode MCs the evening’s electricity. The creative mastermind behind the evening is an event in himself in the way he merges stand-up comedy continuity with his mastery of the at times very profound issues being laid bare. He calls up act after act to the microphone to infuse the air with a poetry that bites, that shocks, that electrifies. Whether the act is the whip-smart all-female poetry collective Octavia or an open-mic first-timer who has wandered in from the humdrum of the city, the quality of performance is staggeringly high – and what they have to say is important. Because in the poetry at Jawdance there is a sense, from a social and cultural perspective, of something moving. Raw at moments, hilarious at others, a common theme is for a poetry that is plugged in and almost cruelly receptive to the times. You are left breathless from listening, but enthralled to be so, as the candle is held up to the intimacies of life, the social and political issues that trouble so many refracted into words. It is thanks to platforms like Jawdance that there is still a space for this passionate, immediate self-expression in cities where those who may feel themselves to be voiceless can soar.

So if there’s one thing you take away from Jawdance, it is that poetry is willing itself to be heard every day. So grab a craft beer from the bar, let yourself be absorbed into the crowd and lie back for the ride, because to quote from the night, if the true Prime Minister of London is gigs then Jawdance is without a doubt the Woodstock in the cabinet.

Jawdance, every last Wednesday of the month at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road, London

Share:
Reading time: 3 min