We dropped by BHLDN-favorite Fanny Chaléon's showroom while in Paris this fall to talk colorful, uber-sparkly jewels and what's new for spring.
Can you start by telling us about the name KORMELITZ and the history behind it?
Kormelitz is the name of my great-great grandmother. Actually, her entire name was Frédérique Pégard de Kormelitz. She was the daughter of a Hungarian Count who immigrated to Paris in 1800. She is part of my family's lore, known for her beauty and modernism.
You came into jewelry design by way of engineering; can you talk about that transition?
Fashion, and especially jewelry, has always held a special place in my heart. While in school I started collecting 80s designer pieces from flea markets and crafting pieces like them for myself as well. I soon became overwhelmed by all the requests from my friends and was welding jewels instead of going to my engineering classes. Luckily, I didn't drop out and got my diploma with honors. It was the right moment to make something big out of my hobby.
What drew you to Swarovski crystals, and how do you go about selecting them for your designs?
I was naturally drawn towards crystals – as a little girl, how do you picture a princess? Well covered in diamonds obviously! SWAROVSKI crystals with their cheeky colors and incredible cuts and sizes are the modern version of diamonds. Wearing a crystal piece gives a natural radiance to the face of a woman. Its brightness is an amazing eye catcher.
Are there any Spring '14 collections you've seen recently that would be a perfect match for Kormelitz jewelry?
I'm liking the soft pinks and delicate sheer fabrics on the runways. Adding some drops of crystal to the structured designs of Alexander Wang, the chic of Céline, or the fun of Sonia Rykiel is the perfect mix!
Can you talk about a favorite piece you're working on right now?
I'm working on a new line of sunglasses. The first pair I made is a floral explosion of colors. I worked on a stain-welded prototype that I gave to my ateliers in Paris to reproduce the shape of the frames with a perfect finishing touch: Swarovski Elements crystals were set, and voila! It's done.
Tell us your favorite?
Film Noir: Cat People or Le Quai des Brumes
Salvador Dali work: Lithographs from Dante's Divine Comedy
Disney Character: the Aristocats, and especially Edgar
What should every woman know when visiting Paris for the first time?
Every woman should see the moment just before the sun sets over the River Seine once in her life. If you walk on the banks Rive Droite from the Place de la Concorde to the Hotel de Ville around 5 pm, it's a wonder...
What are the five items she must pack?
A classy cocktail outfit: high heels, an amazing dress, a clutch, statement jewelry (and a white shirt and vest for the husband). Also, a pair of ballerinas is a must during the day.
If you were honeymooning in France, where would you go?
I would book a room in Paris at the Hotel Particulier Montmartre, so that I could wake up in the morning and enjoy my breakfast in a lavish garden yet still be right in the center of Paris.
Thank you, Merci!