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At the Helm of a Jewelry Empire: Boucheron’s Claire Choisne

 

Claire Choisne Boucheron
For more than a decade now, the Creative Director of Boucheron, Claire Choisne has been instrumental in maintaining the legacy of one of the world's most prestigious jewelry houses. The artistic head continues to innovate and inspire in the world of haute joaillerie as she flips through centuries of archives to rebirth contemporary, award-winning, and globally recognized designs.

Known for her passion for being audacious with jewelry, Choisne talks to Arabian Moda about her sources of inspiration, creative approach, and the special bond she shares with the Middle East.

AM: Claire, please tell us more about your successful journey with Boucheron
I still remember my first day at Boucheron, it was on September 5th 2011. I told myself being here is astronomical, I am being handed a big responsibility. It’s like a monument that took ages to be constructed and I am being entrusted with a piece of its history. I wanted to make sure that I don’t ruin anything when I pass it on. The first thing I did was to take a deep dive into the archives and I went through everything. It wasn't only in big leather books, but also a bunch of copies of pictures and notes of what existed. It was very personal and I immersed myself in the maison’s heritage. I tried to understand the product and the philosophy. What was clear to me was that Frédéric Boucheron was an innovator. He was creating simple designs that were technically smart; he wasn't afraid of using materials that weren’t traditionally used in the industry, and he made them look splendid. He was audacious and this is the mindset I'm trying to preserve. I tell myself not to be scared of trying new things and of using different materials. It keeps the link with the story of the brand. For Boucheron technical innovation really matters so we try to adapt to what's relevant in today’s world.

AM: After years of experience, do you notice changes in the high jewelry sector?
To be honest I have a different approach. I will almost look more at haute couture rather than jewelry to avoid getting influenced. It is easier for me to have a blank page in my head and to imagine things. It's been this way for a very long time. Creatively speaking, I try to stay as close as possible to what I would like to do. I don't spend my time analyzing what happens on the outside.

Boucheron - Carte Blanche, More is More Collection
More is More High Jewelry Collection

AM: Tell us about the creative process behind your marvelous collections?
The process isn't the same for all seasons. We get a “carte blanche” for the July collection and for January the goal is to emphasize our incredible heritage. From both sides we want to show the modern and relevant aspect of the brand that surpasses time. The creative process of July is a bit more extreme though and it starts a lot in advance. You’ll see me taking notes, observing, watching documentaries and keeping my eyes wide open. When something comes up in my mind, I try to block it in. To give you an example, I now have my idea for July 2026, it's not constructed but I have a dream, a story, that I want to tell and I know the path we're going to take. At first, it's quite abstract but it's all about wanting to deliver a message. I then explain this to my team and we do brainstorm sessions. It's important for me that it’s a group effort and to hear everyone's ideas, inputs and create synergies. It's co-construction after all. We often go on inspiration trips that feed our theme and we choose locations that inspire us. We then do our post-its board where we note our ideas; they tend to be random and messy sketches but it's just to retain our creativity. Over time we bounce back on our little notes and start developing them. I give my team a lot of freedom and we construct together a solid theme and concept. Once the drawings are created, it's given to the atelier that will make them come to life.

AM: And do you feel like your creative risks pay off?

At first it scared me to take risks, it's not so common in our industry. But when I believe in an idea it usually works. Luckily there are a lot of people on this planet and they look for different things. Let’s take the little black dress as an example: in January, it could be classic with small details. Some people will like it, others will want one with over-the-top sparkles for July. So, what's important for me, and our CEO, is to make sure that we did the best we can creatively and to show what we can offer. It's a matter of having a clear conscience. We prefer being trendsetters and to try things others haven’t. It's much more fun to have this creative freedom.

Boucheron - Carte Blanche, More is More Collection
More is More High Jewelry Collection

AM: How do you involve the house’s clients in this?
All our year-long hard work is dedicated to them. However, if I focus on what our clients want then I won't know what to do. My approach is to understand Boucheron, the philosophy of Frédéric Boucheron, and to perpetuate his vision. I obviously inject my personal taste as well. I prefer to re-envision the maison’s DNA a lot more than understanding sales trends. I favor sincerity more than market analysis. In my opinion, we need to propose things, anticipate and hope the client likes the work. We create unique pieces and if a single person loves our one-of-a-kind piece, then my mission has been accomplished.

AM: And would you say that Boucheron’s clients of your January collection are the same as the ones of July?
They can be, it's not always the case, but it happens. No one wants to have the same dress all the time. In July, what I love the most, and it concerns both men and women, is that the purchasers of our collection dare to invest in unordinary pieces. They come from all parts of the world and they're audacious. They understand our creative story and they fully own it. It's very emotional for me.

Boucheron Place Vendome
AM: Spending time at Boucheron’s iconic flagship store in Paris, how would you describe the Place Vendôme effect?
It's a mythical location, I can’t really put it into words but I can tell you what it did for me. When I was doing my studies, I would see people who got to work here, and they were the top of the top. I remember that strong feeling when I first started here in the square, I was so young, and I still have that sense of accomplishment to this day. You can't do any better, you get the chance to be part of a dream when you work around the column of Place Vendôme. You find the best teams, premium materials and incredible designs, and all this translates into unique creations.

AM: Boucheron has been very active in the Middle East, what's the proximity like between the brand and our region?
What I've noticed with Middle Easterners is that they don't shy away from audacity and extravagance. This for a creator like myself is incredible. Because these people who take a risk allow me to stay in my comfort zone of being innovative. They're also comfortable with different sizes of jewelry and it doesn't scare them. This is the link I have with the region; I can go for my vision without fear. I like voluminous pieces that allow us to express our creativity and it's not something that everyone understands. In some way our ethos is naturally aligned with the Middle Eastern culture.

AM: After such a success story, what is your advice to women entrepreneurs?
It's the same one I tell myself everyday: dream big, believe in it, and don't let it go. Respect your dreams and do everything you can do to achieve them. Be clear with what you want and don't fear how big they are. It creates an infinite amount of joy.