is tucked just behind Rue de Rivoli, only a few minutes from the Jardin de Tuileries in the 1st arrondissement, in an ideal location for locals, as well as tourists wandering just off the tourist track. I headed over there on a particularly warm September day to photograph and chat to the owner,
- purveyor of fine, pretty jewels - in collaboration with my good friend Kate who runs the London-based jewellery blog
. If you're ever looking for an engagement ring, she's your girl!
opened WHITE bIRD a few years ago after the plug was pulled on an exciting project to launch a fine jewellery collection at Chloe because of the economic crisis. After putting a year of hard work into the project, only to see it cancelled,
decided the timing was right to go solo - and it was the push she needed to set up on her own.
She always wanted to work with luxury products and has spent most of her working life in jewellery or watches, starting at Cartier: "I had no special jewellery training. I just did some business studies, but I knew one thing when I was young - I lived with my parents in Bordeaux and I knew that I wanted to live in Paris. I also knew that I wanted to work with fashion or in the luxury industry." She later worked for Chaumet, and it was during her time there, whilst travelling to the US that she started exploring other jewellery designers. "I went to Barney’s when they'd just opened their little department of fine jewellery. It was just a tiny room in the beginning and they only had one or two brands. But every year it’s grown and grown, and it’s now a huge floor where they have a fantastic range of designers. One of the designers was
and I loved her designs. So I started to think about what I wanted to do for myself. I didn’t want to work for brands anymore, so I decided that in France, there was a real need for a space to showcase new designers." So she opened WHITE bIRD, which is very different to most high end jewellery shops - she wanted to create a space that was cool and cosy, a place where kids could come, and where husbands could happily sit on a couch answering emails while their wives perused the designs. She's done just that - it's warm, welcoming, cosy and beautifully designed to show off the pretty jewels, without being too stiff or strict; it doesn't have the stuffy air of a place like Cartier, where you feel afraid to go in.
Scroll down to read the rest of the interview!
Earliest fashion or jewellery moment?
The first collection I directed at Dinh Van with a freelance designer. Jewellery is a small piece of art that involves a lot of emotion from the designer to the wearer. It’s on your skin. It’s like perfume, it’s very sensual and personal.
Describe a typical working day…
When I’m in Paris, I take my youngest daughter to school, sometimes have a coffee with other parents, walk to the office which is half in the shop, half in a small office nearby and work non stop until 7pm, usually without lunch. I often meet and chat with some customers of the shop, which are delicious breaks
What do you do to relax?
Read and garden at our seaside house.
What piece of advice would you give someone who wants to launch their own jewellery brand or boutique?
Have faith in what your doing, don’t let people discourage you and when there are tough days always think: "tomorrow will be a better day".
Who are your clients?
People that come here are looking for something more personal – they are investing more of themselves into the piece, rather than buying it because it’s a particular brand.
What was the inspiration behind the boutique’s interior style?
I wanted natural and rough materials to contrast with the jewellery, which is precious and delicate. I wanted people to feel relaxed, finding a cool sofa was key and authentic 50’s furniture to make it a bit like a home.
Where did you source the furniture?
Vintage markets and online
Interior styles that have inspired you?
English homes, the Isabel Marant shop in Le Marais, Astier de Villatte, APC in Soho New York
How would you describe your personal style?
Last good book you read?
– it's quite dark, but I love historical books – this one takes place in Iceland in the 19th century.
What’s in your magazine pile at home?
ELLE and the rest is online.
Evening drink of choice?
Champagne and Chablis white wine.
Bedside table essentials?
My Aesop hand cream and my book
Favourite Paris places for coffee, clothes shopping, dinner?
Le Telegraphe coffee shop,
restaurant, Acne, Pierre Hardy,
(Palais Royal) and Stouls for leather clothes.
Words and photography by Marissa Cox.