Saturday, April 1
Ah....Paris, one of my most favorite cites in the world! One of the oldest streets in Paris for couture fashion and exquisite jewelry is the Rue de la Paix, which is in the center of the city. This street was first opened in 1806 by a decree from Napoléon I as a part of a program to open the heart of the Right Bank of Paris. As part of the entrance onto the street, a grand column, crowned with a statue of the Emperor, was created, made from the bronze of 1,200 captured cannons from the battle of Austerlitz (1805).
Many buildings along this fashionable street were inspired by the Place Vendôme, which is a square in the 1st Arrondissemont, across from the famous Tuileries Gardens, and is the starting point to the Rue de la Paix. Considered the most expensive street in the world, it houses the likes of jewelers like Cartier (one of my favorites), Lalique and Boucheron. Fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth was the first to open a couture house here, later to be joined by the famous fan maker, Duvelleroy and the Guerlain Family of perfume manufacturers.
The Rue de la Paix was a bastion for jewelers, couturiers, shirt-makers, hat and glove-makers, and perfume manufacturers. If you were wealthy and enjoyed being catered to in the contemporary style and taste of the time, this was the place to be. Visitors could stay in prestigious hotels, visit posh cafes and coffee houses, ride through the streets and gardens in elegant barouches to see and be seen!
My design “Rue de la Paix” was inspired by the sense of what this famous street would have looked like in the late 1890’s. The streets were lined with fashionable shops, their windows laden with wares of their trade, enticing the passersby to stroll in and shop. The sights, smells and a sense that fashion and fine jewelry had found a home here must have been truly amazing! Watching the likes of Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, Dukes and Duchesses being escorted to their favorite shops to purchase something special must have been truly been a grand spectacle to witness!
The House of Cartier created torque-style
bracelets inspired by animal bracelets dating from the 8th-7th centuries BC.
Traditionally, these bracelets had animal heads that were facing each other
and were hinged at the underside of the bracelet. This style is very
difficult to create in beadwork as the structure has to be shaped and rigid,
but I have finally figured it out!