Pierre Hardy is touching a sore point with the newest chapter of Hermès Lignes Sensibles.
That the pandemic has, amongst many other things, robbed us of human touch. He stated his mission plainly: “The entire collection is oriented towards intimacy.” Absent physical contact with others, Hardy is choosing to go within, extending an invitation to deepen the relationship with oneself.
His starting point is the stethoscope, used by doctors to listen to the sounds and vibrations within the body. “I have tried to mark the passage between the interior and the exterior: the pieces of jewellery that I create are like small organs that emit sounds,” explains Hardy. “They are subtle pulsations that form a connection with the invisible.”
This internalised-externalised mentality is articulated in circuits, drop stones, intricate geometric shapes, and a sensual fluidity that curves around parts of the body like second skin. “The whole collection resembles a caress,” says Hardy. “The necklaces are as soft as the arms around the neck. I wanted the rings, too, to be at one with the body, and not simply a gemstone placed on a finger. I sought osmosis with the hand.”
Naturalism, expectedly, guided Hardy’s choice of materials. “I wanted to use a range of gemstones in colours close to skin tone. I looked for flesh colours, shades specific to the complexion, the lips, or the iris. I looked for cloudy, milky materials to become one with the skin.” In the À l’écoute necklace, a rose gold path paved with diamonds forms an asymmetrical constellation that’s punctuated with cabochons and tourmalines of green-yellow, blue, brown and pink. It’s joined by a bold, glove-like hand jewellery featuring a 4.6 carat black jade cabochon, tourmaline cabochons, citrine and diamonds.
Whereas the À l’écoute exhibits a certain rigidity in its circuitry design, the Ondes Miroir necklace is softer and more alluring, with a sparkling cascade of rose gold bands studded with diamonds in shades of brown, yellow-orange topaz cabochons and moonstones.
The pièce de résistance is the Contre la peau, a shimmering collar of diamonds that wraps around the neck like a scarf. Made by connecting chatons (in which the diamonds are set) with minuscule triangles of gold, it resembles, as Hardy describes, “the microscopic structure of skin, with its triangular micro-wrinkles. “We had made skin! Skin in metal, gold and diamonds,” he adds. 867 brilliant-cut diamonds, to be exact.
There is a fragility to the collection echoed in the delicacy of colours and gentle adornment. But like the body, it’s not without structure and solidity. “I love that the body holds so much symmetry; it is a wealth of mechanisms and articulations,” says Hardy. “The jewellery that I create attempts to bring to the surface these inherent facets of the human body, and to exalt them.” Self-love, as it turns out, is something to be worn, too.
(All images: Hermès)