A perfume expert, an Argentinian painter, and their botanical connection – we discover the unlikely story behind CH by Carolina Herrera’s debut fine jewellery collection.
The jasmine flower has long had a special place in everything from rituals to beauty. It’s a popular note in perfumes, it’s in tea, and it’s even been used as a pro-democratic symbol. It’s also Venezuelan-American fashion designer Carolina Herrera’s favourite flower – and the basic ingredient in her signature namesake scent. (Here are 9 fresh summery scents to look out for.)
So when daughter Carolina Herrera de Baez (above, right) decided to branch out from fragrances – she oversees the division in her mum’s fashion empire – to jewellery, it was a natural choice for a motif. “(It’s my way) of paying tribute to my mother”, says the elegant 42-year-old. And she had the best person on speed dial to do it with.
Enter Argentina-born, Ibiza-based artist Grillo Demo, whose infatuation with the delicate white bloom – a common sight in South America and the Mediterranean – goes back to his youth. “It’s the flower I identify most with. It’s always been present in my life and brings back childhood memories,” he explains. His edgy yet romantic works superimpose painted jasmines – either a single oversized blossom, or a cascade of mini ones – over appropriated prints of everything from ’60s pin-up models to French stylist Carine Roitfeld (a commission by photographer Mario Testino. Also see Testino’s work for Macallan’s Masters of Photography series).
A few years ago, he had met Herrera de Baez at one of his exhibitions in Madrid, and they “hit it off instantly” when she noticed the jasmine-shaped amulet he wore around his neck. Fast forward to present day: His aesthetic anchors her first fine jewellery collection, aptly named Falling Jasmine and was launched last month.
Says Herrera de Baez: “I’ve always dreamt about doing something with jewellery, and this project has allowed me to experiment with two worlds that inspire me: art and design.”
The pretty 10-piece line includes earrings, necklaces and a tiara, and everything is made of gold-plated silver and white enamel. Launched under the CH by Carolina Herrera diffusion line, prices range from $135 to $590. More importantly, they’re meant for everyday wear, to be mixed and matched to suit one’s mood and personal style. The stud earrings, for example, come in three sizes so you can wear them as a symmetrical pair, or not. The largest could even double as a brooch. The cuffs and rings have a coil-like design – stack them and the effect is that of jasmines twining up your arm or finger.
“I love jewellery because they complete a look. They can dress up a daytime outfit for evening; one can play with them to create a specific look,” says Herrera de Baez. In fact, if one were to wear all 10 pieces at a go, it’d “appear as if jasmines are falling from your head to your hands”, she points out – not unlike one of Demo’s paintings.
An adapted version of this story first appeared in Female’s June issue.