The large collection of high jewelery by Lydia Courteille: is inspired by Marie Antoinette. Even at its dark side ♦ ︎
Lydia Courteille is a famous, appreciated, irreplaceable jewelry maker. Indeed, collections of fine jewelry. With a particularity: its collections are often a travel diary in exotic places like the Topkapi of Istanbul, Guatemala, the Sahara. But this time the journey of Lydia Courteille is more difficult, full of pitfalls and traps. It is a journey through time. Or rather, it’s a journey through the History, with a capital letter.
Her new collection, in fact, is inspired by the last Empress of France, Marie Antoinette. A historical figure who, among other things, returned to the spotlight a few months ago, when Sotheby’s sold some jewels that belonged to the queen. This was enough for a nostalgia operation, with the sentimental rehabilitation of the sovereign dead under the guillotine of the French Revolution.
Lydia Courteille, however, is not content with a dusting at the image of Marie Antoinette. The designer has focused on the personality, the story, even the dark side, of the queen.
Among charms, seduction, the unpopularity that led her to the gallows, Marie Antoinette was nevertheless a character that also marked the history of the costume. With choices that are reflected in the Lydia Courteille high jewelery collection. The jewels use, for example, a palette of colors inspired by the life of the Archduchess: from a soft blue aquamarine to royal gold. But even with the dark side “almost Gothic” the designer defines it. The materials used are also blue titanium, blue and yellow sapphires, and Rutilated Quartz (Venus hair).
Upon arrival at Versailles, in May 1770, the young Archduchess Marie Antoinette discovered a life of court very different from the Austrian simplicity to which she was accustomed. The label and the ceremonies of the Grand Lever and the Coucher or, even more difficult for her, the Grand Couvert, that is the dinner in public. In comparison, today’s strict rules for the British royal family seem a life of unruliness.
In her journey through history, Lydia Courteille revisits the life and habits of the Queen of France.
For example, the dances with her friends or in-laws, the presence at masked balls at the Opera, considered inappropriate for a queen, and even during Carnival. She also loved games: she played Pharaoh until two or three in the morning. Not to mention the crazy expenses for receptions and trips. Also known is her passion for jewelry, with the affair of the stolen diamond necklace: a myth that has helped make her unpopular to her fellow citizens. Another dark side: the annual budget for the queen’s clothes was disproportionate and, moreover, punctually surpassed the forecasts. And this while the population and even the middle class of the population suffered from the crisis. In short, the other side of wealth, which does not however cancel the virtuosity in the decorations and the refinement of court taste. The end of the story, however, seems the conclusion of an inevitable path: October 15, 1793 the Archduchess was condemned to death because of high treason. She was guillotined on October 16th at 12.15.