It’s been said before, but we’ll say it again. Parisians do not dress like Emily in Emily In Paris. Not even during Paris Fashion Week. As much as her OTT outfits are completely central to the story—because she’s fashion-loving American and living in a major fashion capital of the world—they are far too deliberate. Like someone spent a lot of time parsing through the season’s latest outfits to piece her looks together. And someone has.
But dressing like a real Parisian is to make everything look effortlessly chic. They even have a word for it: décontracté-chic. Laidback-chic. From fashion to beauty and jewellery, nothing intentional, nothing obvious. Parisians hate being obvious. And being loud. At the same time, they love being bold, being inventive, and they don’t even mind being a little excessive—as long as it’s done right. Ringarde with a side of irreverence? Mais oui!
So while we may not look to Emily for a masterclass in décontracté-chic, we could definitely turn to her boss Sylvie, whose every appearance since season one has been nothing but magnifique. In contrast to Emily’s raucous fashion ensembles and her irrepressible woman-child optimism, Sylvie walks, talks, lives, and breathes elegance and sophistication. She’s a woman of few words but whenever she speaks she cuts straight to the bone.
Likewise, Sylvie never goes overboard with her jewellery. Just a few choice pieces to complement her outfit. A signet ring here, a pair of sexy chandelier earrings there… Everything comes together perfectly, yet it’s like she barely gave it a second thought. That’s the other thing about the French, they never overthink anything. And that’s why French-designed jewellery always has that je ne sais quoi that sets them apart from everything else.
The best of them are of course your Place Vendôme stalwarts such as Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels and Chaumet, not forgetting our favourite fashion houses with stellar jewellery collections like Hermès, Dior, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. But Paris is also a hotbed for emerging and cult labels creating some of the most cutting-edge designs this side of the Atlantic. Here is Vogue Singapore’s edit of the coolest French jewellery designers to covet as we cross into 2022.
1 / 10
Jewellery worn like talismans and amulets, the pieces are infused with the beauty and spiritual quality of ornamental gemstones. Pascale Monvoisin’s background in and passion for painting, sculpting and crafting comes through in the organic, almost raw finishes that highlight the natural imperfections of life, such that each jewellery piece becomes an extension of the self.
2 / 10
Fresh and modern with a touch of whimsy, Yvonne Léon’s designs make everyday wearable jewellery fun and spirited. She uses an eclectic mix of 9K gold alongside neon-coloured enamel, playing with different gemstones and contrasting chain links, placing diamonds where you least expect them to evoke that irreverent touch. Her ear cuffs and signet rings are particularly creative.
3 / 10
Founded in Paris but inspired by beauty and cultures from all over the world, Aurélie Bidermann’s creations espouse the joie de vivre you’d naturally expect from a French jewellery house. She works extensively with metalsmithing as a nod to the roots of traditional French craftsmanship but captures the modern sensibilities of today’s fashion conscious jewellery lovers.
4 / 10
Working exclusively with recycled 18K gold and only ethically sourced materials, founder and creative director Hermine Sacau redefines the meaning of luxury jewellery by combining comfort with style for a reasonable price. Her designs are quintessentially Parisian: skinny chains, tiny studs, delicate rings, elegant hoops, and the prettiest medallion pendants you simply can’t resist wearing in stacks of twos and threes.
5 / 10
Born from a passion for the king of precious stones, this avant-garde French jeweller set out to create a new design language for diamond jewellery and by the looks of everything she surely has succeeded. Valérie Messika infuses her pieces with a young and sexy outlook while also being playful, fun and very recognisable thanks to the moving diamonds concept. She has collaborated with Kate Moss on two high jewellery collections celebrating the beauty of diamonds and other exceptional gemstones.
6 / 10
The designs are deeply personal here, as they feature either names or messages embedded in the jewellery. But while they exude a highly modern aesthetic, Atelier Paulin’s creations are all handcrafted using an ancestral technique that was on the verge of being lost forever. Shaping precious metal wire by and to order, each piece is therefore unique, just as brand founders Anne-Sophie Baillet and Matthias Lavaux intend.
7 / 10
Ultra-delicate chains and fine gold wire provide the basis of much of Persée’s jewellery creations, accented by sparkling diamonds and gemstones of all colours. Brand founder Nawal Laoui infuses the collections with her Moroccan heritage and Greek mythology while introducing a unique pierced diamond setting that presents the stones in its purest form, coupled with graphic shapes and strong lines.
8 / 10
Creating accessible luxury with refinement, elegance, simplicity, and timelessness, designer Marie Poniatowski’s jewels have been worn by the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé, Penelope Cruz, Mélanie Thierry, Cate Blanchet and Laetitia Casta. Her pieces evoke discreet chic and have become essential jewellery for Parisian women of all generations.
9 / 10
Bead necklaces and bracelets are a staple among chic Parisians in the Marais, which was where designer Gigi Clouzeau got her start in jewellery. Vibrant and colourful reflecting a zest for life, her handcrafted pieces juxtapose 18K gold with high-quality resin in a myriad hues all of which are intended to spark joy and elicit delight by the simple act of wearing a piece of jewellery.
10 / 10
Founded by two jewellery enthusiasts, Viltier stems from a mutual desire to break the codes and free jewellery from the confines of traditional beauty. Its collections are radiant, uninhibited, and colourful as they respect and perpetuate classical Parisian savoir-faire. Bezel-set diamonds gather in sweet clusters in the Clique collection while the Rayon collection shines boldly like rays of sunlight.