VICTOIRE DE CASTELLANE
Opiom Velourosa Purpa, 2010
Lacquered silver, white gold, rubies, diamonds, rhyolite
Necklace: 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches (19 x 19 cm)
With base: 5 x 8 3/4 x 8 1/2 inches (13 x 22 x 21.5 cm)
Victoire de Castellane lives and works in Paris. Essentially self-taught—she attempted to make her first piece of jewelry at the age of five—she designed costume jewelry for Chanel for fourteen years. In 1998 she joined Dior as the first Creative Director of their new jewelry department, a role she continues to this day. Her first exhibition "Belladone Island" took place in Monet's Waterlily room at L'Orangerie, Paris in 2007.
De Castellane uses materials like no one before her, choosing precious stones for their unorthodox beauty and form, as well as how they relate to her specific narratives. She prefers them rough or free-shaped, as they occur in nature, in direct contrast to the highly wrought settings that she devises for them. Mountings cast in solid silver according to classical tradition are disguised using a lacquering technique that renders them in an array of alien and expressive hues and textures, from shiny opaque pink, like plastic or bubblegum (Acidae Lilli Pervertus); to iridescent green-gold that evokes the shimmering depths of a beetle's wing (Cana Bisextem Now); to dense matte red, like powdered carmine (Opiom Velourosa Purpa). Hard stones like jasper, rhyolite, agate, and petrified wood are cunningly sculpted into solid bases, hollow containers, or lidded boxes; with their striking natural patterns or sheer brute strangeness, each underscores and intensifies the visual effects of the woman-flower-drug portrayed.