Be prepared for the unexpected. It serves as a guidepost for jeweller Valérie Messika's eponymous jewellery designs. The French jewellery designer debuted her second runway show during Paris Fashion Week on Thursday night in Paris, with a stunning new Messika collection inspired by ancient Egypt. The star-studded event showcased the Parisian fine jewellery brand's disruptive spirit.
Valérie Messika Diamond Jewellery Collection
Only Natural Diamonds met down with the creator and creative director in a suite at the Paris Kimpton hotel only hours before the major event to discuss designing the Messika line, staging the Paris Fashion Week event, and what she hoped attendees would experience.
"I want to continue to make high jewellery more desired," she continues, pausing to check her English, "because when I established my company, I wanted to make diamond jewellery feminine, sexual, and something that leaves an empowered sensation, which I believed was sacrificed in traditional jewellery." Her runway experiences are meant to demonstrate that beautiful jewellery can be worn on a daily basis, just like a beloved jacket or pair of slacks.
Paris Fashion Week
"Beyond the Light," the latest chapter of the high jewellery line, is more valuable and has larger diamonds than the one exhibited on the runway last year. Nonetheless, the designer avoids the cliche of expensive theatrical jewellery that never leaves the safe. "I want to close the gap between the design and the ability to wear it," she says.
"I took a risk by continuing to go forward with an unexpected style of clothing in order to offer a different concept of wearing diamonds," she explained. It was a manner of understanding old civilization as if it still existed now, but not in the literal sense. "This time in history was modern, similar to today's civilization." Women had the same rights as males; they could divorce, own property, and work. "They personified power and strength, much like Cleopatra," she went on, drawing a comparison between women's voices in society.
These contemporary Egyptians avoided stereotypes like kohl-lined eyelids wandering near pyramids with hands a jut. Instead, Messika used a harsh, industrial-looking room devoid of gilding, tapestries, and marble to challenge fine jewellery standards.
The 150 pieces displayed during the presentation, which needed 45 guards backstage, featured large breastplates, mouth jewellery, and pieces that move and morph, akin to Egyptian adornments. For example, huge gold collar necklaces that, according to the jeweller, represented spirituality and were worn while buried.
Messika hired a fashion queen to walk the catwalk in the pièce de résistance, the Akh-Ba-Ka necklace worn by Naomi Campbell. She wore a winged-motif natural diamond necklace with 2,550 jewels, the major diamonds of which were cut from the same 110 carat natural raw diamond. The necklace weighs 71.49 carats in total. The one-of-a-kind creation exemplifies the Parisian jewellery house's excellence and experience in natural stones.
Alton Mason, a male model, was another special visitor who walked the runway. "There could be no Cleopatra without a Pharaoh." There is a major men's jewellery trend that will continue to grow in the coming year. "I want to demonstrate that I will have a voice in this arena," Messika stated. Her father, spouse, and brother are all wearing diamond Messika bracelets in various combinations.
Gigi & Nina
"It seemed new, inventive, unusual, and one-of-a-kind." I enjoyed the contrast between the athleisure clothing and the pricey jewellery. "I'd never seen anything like this before, and I loved the new perspective on wearing jewellery," she explained, adding, "It's how I perceive Messika jewellery in many ways." Diamonds, for example, are timeless, but she makes them edgy, stylish, and practical."
Where can you find Dobrev wearing genuine diamonds? "Of course, to the gym," she laughed. "Seriously, I wear lesser diamonds on a daily basis, but statement diamonds feel more significant to wear to dressed-up situations like today," she continued, referring to the Messika pear-shaped diamond necklace with a claw-like reverse setting she was wearing.
Messika had shared earlier in the day how she overcome her pre-show nerves. "I'm not a confident person," she said, adding, "I was worried about how the jewellery and outfits would match until a few days ago." But then I realised that if any brand could afford to take this risk, it was Messika." She described how she saw it all come together after conducting the fittings the day before. "I was drinking a nightcap with my father when I told him, 'We are in our shoes as a brand; I am confident where we are.'"
Messika was happy and confident during the after-party, posing for selfies with friends and dancing to Diplo's music while dressed head-to-toe in Alaa. Her sole wish for a different outcome? "I wish I could take everyone to Egypt and perform a concert beneath the stars near the Sphinx at night."