Cultured Magazine

Spring 2014

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Page 77 of 135

"I love the idea of making precious objects that at the same time contain jewelry you can wear," says Victoire de Castellane, the Paris-based jewelry designer. "I think it is sad when jewelry just gets left on the overnight table, mixed in with other jewelry." Well, Castellane needn't worry about that. Her jewelry—truly fantastical sculptures that happen to be wearable—are currently on view at Gagosian Gallery in New York—a far cry from the overnight table. To exhibit jewelry in such a lofty gallery might seem surprising, but de Castellane's work is truly artistic and, in the purest sense of the words, intensely fantastic. Somehow simultaneously earthy and glitzy, her pieces combine massive precious stones (diamonds, rubies, multicolored sapphires) with lacquer and petrified wood for something that's surprising, quirky, capti- vating and unquestionably unique. The color palette isn't traditional for fine jewelry—it's more of what you'd expect from a downtown sportswear designer or graffiti artist, in fact, than an elegant French woman with an aristocratic background that goes back for centuries. The candy colors and chunky silhouettes give the pieces an acces- sibility that makes them fun and modern instead of serious and staid. In a sense, de Castellane's work is the jewelry equivalent of a film by Tim Burton, Wes Anderson or Federico Fellini. "It takes between eight months and a year-and-a-half to create the pieces," says de Castellane, of her wondrous creations that look as though they were plucked from some acid-trip garden. "You wear this jewelry and suddenly you are happy; it's like having flowers that do not die." De Castellane has been creating jewelry—which, incidentally, often in- cludes designs based on flowers—since she was five years old, inspired in particular by her chic grandmother. "I felt that this world was the only reality I desired," she says, of designing, which has lead to a long career that includes 14 years conceiving costume pieces for Chanel. Since 1998, she has been creative director of Dior jewelry division and concurrently continues to work on her self-branded artistic pieces, which she began exhibiting in 2007. For de Castellane, there's a healthy balance between her work at Dior and her own endeavors. "I'm not sure if they complement one another, but I definitely enjoy both ways of working," she reflects. "For Dior, I usually play with the DNA of the house itself, while adding elements from my own creative identity. For my personal creations, I play with my own identity and enjoy un- limited freedom in terms of creativity and inspiration. Creating pieces for my collection is my way of expressing myself. It's my personal language." 76 CULTURED EARTHLY DELIGHTS Victoire de Castellane presents her first exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York. BY RACHEL FELDER PORTRAIT BY MATHIEU PERROUD

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