Dior à Versailles – A Walk Around Versailles with Victoire de Castellane

The French fashion and jewellery house Dior debuted the high jewellery collection Dior à Versailles, one of the most interesting in their history and one of the most unusual at the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. Let’s take a stroll around the residence of the king.

The initial idea for the collection came to Victoire de Castellane, as its name implies, from the Palace of Versailles, the embodiment of luxury and the art of living à la française.  The Galerie Des Glaces set (below), which is adorned with pear-shaped diamonds and a tear-drop shaped decorative motif in the centre, resemble an element of a crystal chandelier; the form of the necklace Chambre du Roie is reminiscent of the draw curtains in the King’s Private Apartments; and the bracelet Salon De Mercure recreated the motif of a ribbon tied in a bow that is characteristic of the Rococo interior design style.

The collection’s individual items and lines have all been named after the halls and buildings of the Palace of Versailles: “The Marble Court”, “The Salon of Mars”, “The Salon of Venus”, and so on. “I tried to imagine Versailles at night, lit by a multitude of candles. The reflection of their flames causing diamonds to sparkle. The women are covered with jewels, and if you listen carefully you can hear the light clink of silver on the porcelain” – these were the pictures drawn by the imagination of Victoire de Castellane herself.

The collection is limited to approximately 60 pieces of jewellery, 28 of which are rings and 2 broaches – something of a rarity in Dior’s jewellery but very on-trend this season. All the pieces can be divided into two groups: unique items – 29 in total that will never be repeated, and items that can be re-produced in different colour and material combinations. And let’s not forget about the materials! How often do you come across silver in high jewellery collections? Perhaps you would a hundred years ago, but nowadays you will find gold and platinum in its place. However, in the Dior à Versailles collection this metal is used alongside white, yellow and pink gold. The blackened silver together with rose-cut diamonds were intended to recreate an authentic 18th century atmosphere as accurately as possible.

The same goal also led Victoire de Castellane to unexpected design decisions. For example, the diamond-adorned ring with a secret, “Mesdames’ Apartments”, has a special hiding place. In the Middle Ages, a beautiful lady could equally well use it to hide a love note, a sacred relic or a deadly poison. The “Salon of Apollo” bracelet has a silver bow with white and yellow diamonds that forms the shape of a shining star that seems to bring the Rococo style to life.

Victoire de Castellane decided to experiment in a characteristically daring fashion by joining together ancient techniques and modern trends. This was what led to the creation of the unique ring-bows on two fingers. De Castellane has paid homage to the eternal festivities that accompanied the life of Court. To convey this mood in the collection, she not only used white and yellow diamonds but also emeralds, rubies, blue and pink sapphires and pink spinel. The Dior à Versailles collection was complex in its design as well as its execution. In order to create just once piece of jewellery it was sometimes necessary to use several different jewellery techniques and make use of various workshops in Paris. However, there is no pain without gain and Victoire’s collection has again become one of the best amongst those debuted at the Haute Couture Fashion Week.

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