Each piece of Dauphin jewelry is a visual poem, written in the language of modern aesthetics and fine craftsmanship. The abstract, sculptural, and elegantly designed collection, by Paris- and London-based Charlotte Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld exudes an intellectual individuality that’s refined to boot. In the midst of this fall’s Paris Fashion Week, Barneys Fashion Director Marina Larroudé stopped into the Dauphin showroom to view and try on the geometric-yet-movement-focused pieces for herself, and she invited The Window to tag along.
“Dauphin speaks to the contemporary woman—jewelry today needs to make women feel free and strong. We’re offering new possibilities for the individual who wants to be more conscious about what she wears and how it translates who she is,” Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld says of collection, which she first launched in 2014. “When wearing my work, I want a woman to feel an alignment between who she is and what she wears, not like she is wearing someone else’s piece of jewelry. To reach that level of harmony is fundamental.”
That focus on the modern woman and an individual connection immediately spoke to Marina as she experienced the house’s latest offerings in person. “Sometimes, diamond pieces can feel old-fashioned or like you’ve borrowed your grandmother’s jewelry, but Dauphin pieces are designed for the woman of today,” Larroudé recounts. “Every design is almost architectural, but also playful and striking.”
That balance between the structured, thoughtfully constructed forms and their sense of freedom and movement is a delicate one, and something that Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld says she carefully considers. “My pieces are a constant dialogue with the human body in relation to space,” she says. “The sculptural and architectural elements derive from a dialectic between the stillness of sculpture and the dynamics of movement. This aesthetic differs from a traditionally flat and still approach to jewelry.”
Drawing from her own background in fine art and art history, as well as from a family history of “image makers and storytellers”—her grandfather was Jacques Dauphin, a legendary French advertising executive who is today considered the father of modern billboard advertising—Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld’s creative process is all her own. She strives to capture “a poetic rendering of an emotion,” and in the process eschews any references to a particular trend, culture, tradition, or heritage. Instead, she allows her subconscious and her intuition to guide her to a series of images and memories, which she then distills to a single universal emotion that she tries to capture in her pieces. “An image says much more than it seems—it conveys so many levels of meanings, and a literal approach seems irrelevant to me,” she says, adding that the true goal of her work is to trigger a strong emotional response from the wearer. “That is what I believe makes Dauphin timeless, personal, and different.”
And when is comes to Marina’s visit to the showroom, that mission was certainly achieved, as she found herself drawn to piece after piece. “My personal favorites were the over-the-top earrings, which look like disco balls,” she enthuses about the style that can been seen above. “There’s also a lot of variety in the line, ranging from the statement-making, standout pieces to those that are more everyday and wearable. The stackable rings that you can layer up, each still can make a statement on its own.”
That sense of adding and growing is inherent to the line. Now in its third year, Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld has a clear vision for how she sees the collection moving forward while remaining true to its roots. “Dauphin’s aesthetic has been consistent since the start, yet I want to make sure it has the ability to reinvent itself collection after collection in a disruptive and innovative way,” she tells us. “Each collection has its own place, yet they all retain parallels—from the palette and the volumes, to the abstract element and the consistent dynamics and movement within the creations. The collections seem naturally to evolve towards more and more freedom.”