Under a subdued light in the Gaîté Lyrique theatre yesterday a couple danced, moving together slowly, then more quickly, interlocking arms and linking their bodies. This was a human realisation of designer Pierre Hardy‘s vision for the new Hermès fine jewellery collection, Enchaînements Libres, which came to life in front of the Paris couture week crowd in a mesmerising show choreographed by Christian Rizzo. Gradually a line of ballerinas, dressed in black wearing the jewels, joined the stage forming a human chain.
“My first idea for the collection was very simple and basic,” Hardy told me following the show. “I wanted to pay attention to the chain. Everyone has a chain in their life so everyone understands it and I wanted to switch it as far as possible form its original shape.”
As Hardy points out, a chain is one ring followed by another and his intention is to disrupt this repetition by playing games with curbed links, interlacing round and rectangular shapes to obscure, manipulate and transform the chain into new dramatic forms. The over-sized diamond-covered Adage has a ring and stick at the front to invert the idea of the fastening, the various supple lengths and links of the Grand Jeté danced with rounds of black jade, pearl and orange sapphires, and the iconic Chaîne d’ancre was reimagined in thick chocker style with a huge slab of rock crystal.
“I tried to break the repetition of a chain”, he explains, “because I was interested in how the chain can be used to both attach and liberate.” Hardy was in his element designing the collection and show, which combined a group of his favorite things. “I used to be a dancer,” he continues. “Dance moves me. I think it’s the most powerful art as feeling is shown through the body and jewellery is best viewed on the body.” He also played games with diamonds. “I love the material but I never use a single stone. I like diamonds paved which gives life to jewellery.” It was a bravura performance creating a beautiful and thought-provoking oasis of movement in the midst of the crazy couture schedule.