Chaumet On the wings of passion with “A Sentimental Education”
The exhibition “A Sentimental Education” features a selection of romantically-inspired jewelry and watches that celebrates love stories .
This month, the Maison Chaumet places the beauty of sentiments center stage as it deploys the second chapter of its creative history at its Place Vendôme boutique, transformed for the occasion into an ephemeral museum.
The presentation, titled “A Sentimental Education,” runs until September 24, and features a selection of romantically-inspired jewelry and watches that celebrates the love stories - some illustrious, others more intimate – that the Maison has accompanied with spectacular creations.
Spanning two centuries of designs that commemorate sentimental moments, the presentation showcases the heritage of the Maison Chaumet that, since its founding in the late 18th century, has applied its savoir-faire to express all forms of attachment, from tender family ties to effusive throws of passion.
“A Sentimental Education exposes the human heart at all stages of life, from the unconditional love between parent and child to fond friendships, the bonds of matrimony and all-consuming passion,” explains the Maison Chaumet. “The idea is to show the range of jewelry the Maison has created to mark different forms of sentiment.”
“A Sentimental Education” inescapably recalls the famous autobiographical novel by Gustave Flaubert, the celebrated 19th century French writer, which explores the youthful passion of the author for a married woman many years his senior. Chaumet focuses on another memorable love affair, that between Napoleon Bonaparte and Joséphine de Beauharnais, whose romance has inspired creations at Chaumet from the days of the First Empire to the present.
In a colorful décor painted in passionate reds to soft hues of pink conceived by the interior designer, Élizabeth Leriche, the boutique has been transformed into a monument to romance. A red corridor shaped like a keyhole, perhaps tracing a voyeur’s journey, leads to an intimate boudoir that features a collection of wing-shaped jewels, rare treasures retrieved from the house’s private museum.
Alongside the archives exhibited on the walls are photographs of famous couples, including Lili Damita and her husband Errol Flynn, Sacha Guitry and his wife, Yvonne Printemps, and the Maharaja of Indore and his spouse, all of whom once celebrated significant moments of their lives with memorable pieces signed Chaumet.
“It has been the wish of Jean-Marc Mansvelt to explore the Maison’s history with pieces and documents that reaffirm the heritage of the house,” the Maison Chaumet explained, referring to the chief executive of the house appointed to the post in January 2015.
Among the contemporary pieces shown are nine new Chaumet watches in the Liens collection presented exclusively in the Paris boutique.
“The new Liens watches are more rounded and feminine, but also more precious. The face has changed but the proportions remain the same,” the Maison Chaumet sums up.
The small white gold model is entirely hand-paved with diamonds, starting with the snow setting of the dial and the buckle of the black satin strap. The crown is adorned with a rose-cut diamond.
The medium pink-gold model boats a white mother-of-pearl dial, diamond hour indicators and a hand-set bezel, on a black alligator strap. The number “12” on the dial has been redesigned with graceful feminine curves. The steel model, sporty yet sophisticated, is diamond-paved on a mother-of-pearl dial, and includes diamond hour indicator bars trickling down from the curvy number “12” and a hand-set bezel.
One of the historical watches on display is the fine “Montre aux Myosotis” or the “Forget-Me-Not” watch, a creation of Joseph Chaumet that dates back to 1908. The delicately designed piece, in gold, platinum, pearls, diamonds and enamel, conceals a secret, the likeness of a man -perhaps the Marquis de Montesquiou - who purchased the ladies’ watch for his beloved.
“This watch allowed the woman who wore it to gaze at her lover’s photograph discreetly by opening a secret compartment in the back,” explains the Maison Chaumet. “With this watch, both the name and the design were in the service of romance.”