As the only granddaughter of the French advertising pioneer Jacques Dauphin, Charlotte Dauphin de La Rochefoucauld has design in her blood. At just 27, she is already in the process of creating a legacy of her own, with her contemporary fine jewellery label Dauphin.
Since its debut in January, Dauphin has left a lasting impression with its modern visual language and fine craftsmanship. Abstract and sculptural, yet elegantly put together, Dauphin's pieces exude an intellectual individuality that's refined to boot.
The jewellery house's inaugural collection features geometric, latticed rings, double rings and earrings in white, yellow, rose and even black gold, encrusted with diamonds. De La Rochefoucauld has also created a cage-like necklace and cuff bracelet that both gently balloon away from the body to elegantly frame the neck and wrist, like an extension of the body itself.
'The idea of composing a new contemporary silhouette is very important in my work. I am creating another range of possibilities, another world, and a new silhouette,' says the designer. 'I have strictly no interest in replicating the past in my artistic approach to jewellery, otherwise the novelty of creation would soon wear off and I would do something else.'
The jeweller strives to 'introduce new methods and ideas within the realm of traditional jewellery making', teaming up with traditional French jewellery foundries and craftsmen from France and Italy. 'I work with [those] who embrace this approach as well, and yet who are not afraid to try new things, to go further. Still, I am very attached to the idea of preserving these traditional techniques, which is what makes the objects beautiful themselves. I look for timelessness.'
While the metal work in Dauphin's signature pieces comes delicately covered with pavé diamonds, the same designs are also available semi pavé; diamonds are used selectively to highlight each shape, which gives them a completely different effect. Together with the different coloured golds and diamonds, the resulting creations are modern and avant-garde. This is especially the case in the house's blue gold iteration, which utilises a special coloration technique to turn 18 carat white gold a rich inky blue.
'I sought to increase the colour boundaries [of my neutral colour palette] and play with tonality and shade. I was looking for a blue that is just like white, black, grey or even rose gold, which I generally call "nude" because it disappears on the skin,' she explains. 'I wanted this blue to become almost a shade of black in this collection, which is reinforced by the choice to apply black diamonds to the objects. This deep ink blue made a lot of sense. It is full of poetry, mystery and melancholy.'
Dauphin's experimentations with negative space bestow its architectural pieces with a lightness that draws both admirers and the wearer in. This carefully considered design approach also manifests itself in Dauphin's Parisian showroom, which was designed by Felix de Montesquiou, and its alluring and equally minimalist campaign, featuring Saskia de Brauw and photographed by Paolo Roversi.
With a second collection to be revealed in February that promises to push more boundaries on all fronts, Dauphin's forward-thinking jewellery revolution is definitely afoot.