Céline d'Aoust, Heart of Stones Fashion - 15 February 2019
Generous, elegant and inspiring, this jewellery designer, who spends half the year in Jaipur, India, tells us about the close connection she has forged with her adopted country, as well as the outlines of the brand she has lovingly constructed.
These days, you give the impression of riding several big trends: craftworks and accessories with a high symbolic potential. Can you explain this?
Just under 10 years ago, when I was presenting my pieces to certain luxury shops, the buyers hesitated. They had difficulty understanding my approach, the irregular characteristics of my jewellery, the imperfections in certain stones. Today, that unique aspect of my pieces is precisely what attracts those same players. Even my Stella ring – with its more classical shape – displays diamonds that are each different. The way that I produce all of my collections in small series is better understood now.
Your decision to work with stones that come from India and with craftspeople in Jaipur – the same ones for many years – has obviously had an impact on your work. Can you describe it?
Recently, I have embraced this attachment. Before, through fear, perhaps, of falling into certain clichés, I didn't allow myself to play the colour card or to take inspiration from the traditional Indian parures that fascinate me so much. Today, I feel as though my Eastern inspiration is legitimate, that it has a real reason for being.
Perhaps because over the years you have developed real connections with your partners in Jaipur...
My first home is Brussels, and my second is India. My partners know my tastes. They select stones that I like and that suit me. It's the same for the craftspeople. They understand how I work. Their work has gained precision and finesse. From my side, I have the impression that through contact with them, I can let go a little more. In India, the relationship with time is different. So I have learned to be more flexible and to accept certain compromises.
Within the jewellery domain, it appears that competition is increasingly tough. But you seem to resist. Your jewellery continues to display a real identity.
In India, I live in a vacuum five months a year. I am involved 100% in my creative process. Nothing -or nearly- else counts. The country inspires me. Like the magic of the stones. When I am confronted with a stone that I cannot cut without ruining it, I have to adapt myself, improvise. It's an excellent driver for creativity.
This creativity is dotted throughout your communication strategy, but also in your Ixelles boutique...
I recently worked with artist Christo Noguès who participated in creating the invitations sent to press and buyers during the last Paris fashion week. Afterwards, he designed the amazing displays in the interior windows of my Brussels shop. Nothing conspicuous, nothing 'buzzy'. The concept was to take care of each detail and to create an emotion. Consumption habits have changed. Today, most of my clients are looking for a long-lasting emotion.
What is your next dream?
I would say a shop in Paris. Not simply for the prestige of having a Parisian showcase. But more so that I can welcome buyers all year long, not just during fashion weeks. But I want to take my time to do things right. We are present in some amazing shops, including Montaigne Market and Bon Marché, as well as in the USA and Asia. Our development will intensify. My other dream is to go even further with the social and environmental approach we have taken for several years. We have already reduced the use of plastic in our packaging and we support charitable and cultural projects. But I definitely would like to do more.
Interview by Marie Honnay
Céline d'Aoust - atelier, India
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