Modern designs and clean lines in precious stones has become the hallmark of the high jewellery collection by luxury brand Hermès. And in its sixth edition this year, Lignes Sensibles, this spirit of reinvention is explored yet again by Creative Director of Hermès Jewellery Pierre Hardy. The body is the source of inspiration, here, with resplendent diamonds, sapphires, tourmalines, and topazes taking centre stage. The skeleton structure and softness of skin are transformed into pieces that flow seamlessly; creating a statement that heighten the drama of the outfit. In an exclusive conversation with Brides Today, Pierre shares his thought process behind designing the striking collection, which is almost like a work of art.
Brides Today: This collection is driven by patterns inspired by circuits, grids, and lines. How have these translated into the designs?
Pierre Hardy: I was inspired by objects that are used to listen to the body, such as the stethoscope, which allows you to hear sounds and vibrations that are otherwise imperceptible to the ear. I wanted to transcribe these interior areas; to sketch their design on the skin. I see these lines as radiating out from them. I like the idea that you can choose a different anatomy, or reinvent an intimate sensory system...like a wave that is given form by jewellery.
BT: Your work speaks of an interior rhythm connected to the cadence of proportions, with alternating positive and negative spaces. What is the philosophy behind it?
PH: The entire collection is oriented towards intimacy. I have tried to mark the passage between the interior and the exterior: the pieces of jewellery that I create are like small organs that emit sounds. They are subtle pulsations that form a connection with the invisible. Often, with jewellery, “sound mingles with light”, to quote Baudelaire. But this collection is quite silent, the pieces are discreet, both in weight and dimensions.
BT: A kind of softness characterises the collection, which also extends to the colours... How did you achieve that?
PH: I wanted to use a range of gemstones in hues close to the skin tone. I looked for flesh colours, shades specific to the complexion, the lips, or the iris. I looked for cloudy, milky materials to become one with the skin. In my previous collections, the link with the body was achieved through metaphors, such as the chain. Here it is direct: the jewellery is closer than ever to the body itself. The pieces fit closely around the finger, neck, and wrist. I wanted to return to this symbiosis: to be at one with the skin.
BT: You are drawn to the concept of light being communicated through designs. Please explain the principle behind this...
PH: In paintings, I like details of tears, droplets, and pearls on which light reverberates. In the same way, pieces of jewellery are accents that catch the light and reflect it. They are like chakras, the body’s energy points defined in ancient India. In my own way, and without any form of mysticism, I have sought to reinvent these sensitive areas that the light glides over, producing impressions of beauty.
BT: Is there a sensual alchemy at work in the bejewelled lattices?
PH: I was thinking of the effervescence of certain emotions of the abandonment to pleasure. The pieces sit in places that are connected to desire, creating an eroticism that inevitably reinterprets the body. I have a very gentle movement in mind, and if there is alchemy, then it lies in the power that the pieces have to transform the skin on which they lie into a more radiant material.
BT: Were you thinking of movement within your collection?
PH: Yes, in my mind the material is constantly changing, and the collection follows this progression: it goes from the most tangible to the most immaterial. My combined passion for anatomy and dance led me firstly to consider bones: the wrists, and the beauty of the bone structure. That then brought me to the idea of a circuit, and to droplets, expression, and the limits
of the body.
BT: And does the hand jewellery draw on a specific imaginary world?
PH: Working produces some unexpected images. There is a universality of forms that escapes me. Above all, I am passionate about inventing new forms of flexibility that allow the hand to remain free and the fingers to bend. I have sought to create a system of veins, like a flow of water trickling through fingers. I would love jewellery to be alive.
BT: The Contre la Peau necklace is a universe in itself. Tell us about it...
PH: Unusually, I didn’t do a sketch for this piece. Instead, I had a strong intuition for a fluid and flexible texture that would envelop the neck like a caress. By working with meshing, we sought to create a fabric in metal. And we discovered that we had created the microscopic structure of skin, with its triangular micro-wrinkles... We had made skin! Skin in metal, gold, and diamonds. I think we got close to an absolute, because there was no predetermined form, it just happened by feeling the sense of a second skin.
BT: Even the rings seem to be inhabited by a sense of tenderness.
PH: The whole collection resembles a caress. The necklaces are as soft as arms around the neck. I wanted the rings, too, to be at one with the body, and not simply a gemstone placed on a finger. I sought osmosis with the hand.
BT: Your work is driven by geometry, like the brooches that resemble abstract paintings. What is the driving principle?
PH: Geometry is inherent in all of us, art merely reveals it. I love that the body holds so much symmetry; it is a wealth of mechanisms and articulations. The jewellery that I create attempts to bring to the surface these inherent facets of the human body, and to exalt them.
According to governmental guidelines, the wedding guest limit has been capped at 50—across several Indian states—to curb the spread of coronavirus.
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