royal treat­ment

On a re­cent visit to Paris, style icon Cherie Chung im­mersed her­self in jew­eller Chaumet’s sto­ried past. She chats with Char­lene Co about the mai­son’s il­lus­tri­ous his­tory and its per­pet­ual muse, Em­press Joséphine

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

A style icon im­merses her­self in Chaumet’s sto­ried past

Ghaumet crafted mag­nif­i­cent jew­ellery for the court of Napoleon Bon­a­parte, es­pe­cially for his first wife, Em­press Joséphine de Beauhar­nais, for whom the French mai­son pro­duced nu­mer­ous beau­ti­ful tiaras, clips and other pieces that con­tinue to pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion for the the brand’s de­sign­ers to­day. Known for her im­pec­ca­ble taste and love of na­ture, Joséphine was a breath of so­phis­ti­ca­tion and creativity in Napoleon’s rigid and mas­cu­line court.

Cen­turies on, the jew­eller has found a mod­ern-day ver­sion of its royal muse in Hong Kong ac­tress Cherie Chung, who, at 57, re­mains as beau­ti­ful and grace­ful as she was when she first cap­ti­vated hearts lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally on the sil­ver screen in the 1980s. On a re­cent visit to Paris, Chung im­mersed her­self in the his­tory of the French mai­son and re­traced the so­phis­ti­cated life­style of Joséphine. She shares this mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence and how it feels to be as­so­ci­ated with such an ad­mired his­tor­i­cal fig­ure.

tell us about your trip.

We vis­ited a lot of places but the most un­for­get­table one for me was the Palace of Fon­tainebleau. We had a chance to en­ter ar­eas which are usu­ally re­stricted, and there I had a glimpse of the palace’s glo­ri­ous im­pe­rial ex­is­tence. The royal gar­dens, which were built at dif­fer­ent times, and the palace are now sep­a­rated by a street, but this doesn’t make th­ese his­toric trea­sures any less cap­ti­vat­ing.

What was it like ex­plor­ing chaumet’s ar­chives?

This brings me to the sec­ond most mem­o­rable visit on the trip— Chaumet’s mu­seum at its flag­ship store on Place Vendôme. Though I have been there a num­ber of times be­fore, I’m still mes­merised by it. The build­ing was for­merly the res­i­dence of the com­poser Frédéric Chopin and has a very el­e­gant at­mos­phere. The mu­seum houses a large col­lec­tion of de­sign sketches for the house’s jew­ellery over the years, which helped me un­der­stand the in­spi­ra­tions be­hind Chaumet’s col­lec­tions, as well as the brand’s his­tory and con­stant pur­suit of im­pec­ca­ble aes­thet­ics.

How do you feel about be­ing com­pared to em­press Joséphine?

It’s an hon­our but I would never com­pare my­self to any­one. The em­press was a cre­ative, in­de­pen­dent and in­no­va­tive woman. She was un­re­strained and loved na­ture, and in many ways was a woman ahead of her time. And this con­fi­dence and charm can be seen in a lot of to­day’s strong, mod­ern women in con­stant quest for self-ful­fil­ment.

How does this chaumet en­dorse­ment dif­fer from your oth­ers?

Chaumet’s jew­ellery has a very royal feel­ing, which I like very much. Wear­ing th­ese noble and to some level spir­i­tual pieces is al­ways an im­mense de­light. More­over, with time­less de­sign and su­perb crafts­man­ship, they are re­ally like arte­facts, but they can be worn every day.

Jew­ellery suite and time­piece in white gold and di­a­monds from the Chaumet Joséphine Ron­des de Nuit col­lec­tion

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