Parisian jewellery designer Delphine-Charlotte Parmentier has spent twenty years working with the biggest names in fashion. Already engaged in creating high-end jewellery and accessories for couture collections when she graduated from Paris’s Berçot School in 1989, she went to work for Jeanne Lanvin, Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana. Today, her designs are handcrafted using Swarovski crystals and French materials in Paris, where she collaborates with Lacroix, Lanvin, Ungaro, Valentino, Kenzo, among others. She opened her first Paris boutique in 1997 to widespread acclaim. For the collaboration with Wolf & Badger, Delphine-Charlotte Parmentier was kind enough to lend herself to some questions which give more insight into her methods and artistic expression.
How do you decide what pieces you want to create? How do you translate your passion and inspiration into those pieces?
The starting point is the material and the texture. The whole creative process is a mixture between the concept, the vision of how the jewellery could be worn and its influence on the whole of the silhouette. But I can sometimes just start from a particular shape – something graphic, pop, organic or bucolic. I am interested in contrasts between forms and materials and the new ways of shaping them.
Are there any particular materials and techniques that you favour?
I would say it’s the metal. I love the elaboration of original forms and its complementing with stones, crystals and pearls. It is the core of my approach. I always ask myself – how to enhance the beauty of a form or material? Sometimes it works by trying to make it less obvious and sometimes by accentuating it. I am not afraid to put side by side what on first sight might look as contradiction because it is in that tension that I can find the refinement.
Who or what inspired you to start featuring Swarovski crystals in your products?
Everything started a long time ago; when my great-grandmother and my grandmother worked for their first sales representative: the wholesaler “Freed”. So I was aware about the existence of Swarovski elements from a very young age. It was already the best you could find on the market regarding the quality and refinement of the crystal. For me the Swarovski crystals represent the perfect balance between beauty and quality. Therefore, it seemed very natural to me to include that excellency in my collections.
Do collaborations bring out a different aspect of your creativity, as compared to when you’re designing just for yourself? Do you enjoy the different influences that these two contexts bring to your creativity?
My motivation for collaborations is the excitement and the energy that sparks around the project in question. It is very inspiring and rewarding to share different perspectives and creative concepts. I love the drive of collaboration – it is renovating and it’s always a challenge since we cannot know in which direction the project will take us. The most important is to be open and take the risk to go every time a bit further beyond our limitations and always stay creative.