Pure Brilliant White: Boucheron Presents The Power of Couture

French luxury maison Boucheron has unveiled its latest Histoire de Style High Jewellery collection, The Power of Couture. Inspired by ceremonial attire and the couture heritage of Frédéric Boucheron, the collection is striking for its stark, monochromatic colour palette, militaristic overtones, and creative conciseness. Boucheron’s creative director, Claire Choisne, ensures every jewelled ornament deserves its place in her 24-piece line-up, including buttons, bows, épaulettes and aiguillettes. Let’s stand to attention and take a closer look…

During Boucheron’s Couture Week presentation to unveil the latest chapter in its ‘Histoire de Style’, creative director Claire Choisne said that, in her wildest dreams, all 24 pieces in the Power of Couture collection would end up in the hands of a singular collector, who would wear them in myriad combinations as their personal ceremonial accoutrements. Of course, this isn’t likely to materialise, but it’s an interesting creative launchpad when designing a series of high jewellery masterpieces.

A model wears multiple creations from the Boucheron Histoire de Style The Power of Couture High Jewellery Collection, including the Broderies fern-shaped and diamond-set shoulder adornments

Another detail that captured our attention on the day was the reasoning behind the collection’s stark, singular colourway: white. According to Choisne, she wanted to purposefully distance The Power of Couture from traditional regalia, which is typically decorated with red, blue and green enamel and overtly washed in yellow gold and ancient insignias. Instead, by choosing a palette of diamonds, rock crystal, and white gold, Boucheron distances itself from any one culture or country and presents its own take on a stylish ceremonial uniform. We can certainly imagine marching to the beat of our own drum in these pieces!

“Bows, knits, grosgrain, pompoms and lace abound in our archives. For this fourth edition of Histoire de Style, I decided to explore the theme of couture, without the fuss,” Claire Choisne.

The first thing to realise about this collection is that it shrugs off the “stiff and radical” impression that ceremonial dressing has developed with time. “I decided to deconstruct the symbols of power to reappropriate them,” says Claire Choisne. “This collection is designed like a precious kit that may be worn in a multitude of ways, choosing among various elements to create an individual style.” And like any wearable kit, comfort is of paramount importance. Choisne says that one of her most significant challenges was bringing “the characteristics of fabric to rigid gold and stones,” and we can see this through shaped crystal blocks, knitted rock crystal styles and twisted ropes of quartz that appear like they’ve come straight off a couturier’s bench.

A model wears the Boucheron Boutons, the Médailles pendant earrings and the Noeud shoulder brooch (transformed from a necklace) with a 4.05-carat pear-cut diamond, all in diamonds, rock crystal and 18k white gold, from the Histoire de Style The Power of Couture High Jewellery Collection

The collection begins with Médailles, which are traditionally worn on the breast on the left-hand side of a lapel. Here, we can see pennants (a type of fabric ribbon from which medallions are suspended) crafted with 15 carved crystal blocks to create a more nuanced shape and grosgrain texture, which couldn’t be achieved by using a single hunk of quartz. The medallions themselves are carved using the principle of glyptic art – manually engraved crystal in either high or low relief – and edged with diamonds. These two diamond-set pieces can be worn as brooches or attached to the Médailles choker necklace, which is a real statement! This transformable piece is complemented with a pair of ear clips and two rings, one set with a D colour, VVS2 diamond of 2.04 carats. According to Boucheron, the Médailles suite required 2,230 hours of handcraftsmanship.

Next, there’s our personal favourite creation – the Tricot necklace – with ‘knitted’ rock crystal that’s been sandblasted and linked onto nitinol cables (a nickel and titanium alloy) to encompass the entire neck. These chevrons of matte textured quartz are interspersed with diamond-set links, leading the eye to a diamond-set button that’s paved with baguette-cut diamonds, round diamonds and more rock crystal. The central, bezel-set diamond is D-colour, VVS2 in clarity, with a total weight of 2.01 carats. A matching cuff bracelet completes the look, resulting in more than 1,000 total hours of craftsmanship.

In recent years, we’ve seen ponytail ties, pockets, hair jewels, and hoodie drawstrings from Boucheron, so it’s no surprise that bejewelled epaulettes are in this collection. The Power of Couture’s transformable Épaulettes broaden the shoulders with a diamond-set framework of white gold, which is inspired by the shape of a 1902 diadem crafted by the house for Mary De Teck, Princess of Wales. Both can be worn as a pair of bracelets and are accompanied by matching ear pendants for extra glamour, requiring some 960 hours of labour.

The Nœud necklace (requiring more than 2,600 hours of craftsmanship) is perhaps the most ambitious piece in the collection, with its matte frosted rock crystal to recreate grosgrain ribbon. This fabric effect is made up of 435 individual pieces of rock crystal, all hand-cut and fitted into a framework of white gold. The edges of the bow are set with diamonds, while the centre is adorned with a pear-shaped F-colour, VVS2 diamond of 4.05 carats. It can also be worn in six different ways, including a detachable bracelet, brooch, shoulder adornment, and even a solitaire ring! Two other rings complete the Nœud set, one with a pear-shaped D-colour flawless Type IIa diamond of 5.16 carats, while the other is adorned with rock crystal and a pear-shaped D-colour, VVS1 diamond of 2.50 carats.

Col instantly reminded the Katerina Perez.com team of the ruff famously worn by Queen Elizabeth I in Tudor England. However, this version is far more luxurious! This spin on a rigid, tightly fitting collar is inspired by a 1900s tiara crafted by the Maison and features lace-like diamonds and rock crystal. When worn as a whole, it combines a plastron with a choker, wreathing the face with a mesh of gold and light, but the elements may also be worn separately. A pair of earrings complete the Col suite, taking the total number of hours at the bench to 1,900.

As the collection comes to a close, there are plenty more sartorial choices to be made. You may prefer a set of 15 white gold, diamond and rock crystal buttons (Boutons) that can be worn on clothes or in the hair, complete with a matching 4.63-carat diamond ring and a pair of long or short ear pendants, or perhaps the oh-so-classy, braided Aiguillette that sweeps from the shoulder to the lapel in a militaristic fashion. The latter is again fashioned in white gold, rock crystal, and diamonds. It can be worn as two brooches, a necklace, or a bracelet, complete with an E-colour VVS2 diamond of 2.11 carats. Finally, there’s the Boucheron Broderies – gorgeous wind-swept leaves of diamonds that can be fashioned as brooches on either shoulder or transformed into a hair jewel. This same aesthetic is mirrored in the Broderies tiara and two matching pairs of earrings, one of which is asymmetrical and climbs the ear with an E-colour, VVS2 diamond of 1.50 carats.

A trio of pieces from the Boucheron Histoire de Style The Power of Couture High Jewellery Collection, including the Aiguillette brooch, the Boutons, and the Broderies brooch, all in diamonds, rock crystal and 18k white gold

It would be a lucky person indeed to own such a suite of ornaments and walk through life with their own ceremonial regalia. Whether it’s the monochromatic colour palette or the inspiration behind the collection that inspires you, The Power of Couture supports Boucheron’s reign at the top of the Parisian high jewellery scene. All hail Boucheron!

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