Tatiana Verstraeten has some considerable fashion and design credibility. She was first introduced to the world through an exclusive feature in the July 2018 issue of British Vogue. Years in the making, The Belgian-born designer emerged as a top jewelry creator, quietly honing and perfecting her craft as a Paris-based designer at Chanel for Karl Lagerfeld.
Her first intro to the world of fashion was at the cult-favorite millinery Maison Michel where she designed and produced luxury hats and accessories. She followed this by time spent at the inimitably sexy ready-to-wear line by Anthony Vaccarello, before she landed the coveted position at CHANEL. While there, Verstraeten worked under the helm of the late, great Karl Lagerfeld, where she began creating jewelry and headpieces for the French fashion house. 7 years later she was revealed to the world in iconic fashion when British Vogue featured Oprah Winfrey on the cover wearing Verstraeten’s drop diamond-encrusted emerald earrings.
Tatiana Verstraeten departed from designing accessories with Chanel to introduce her own line of jewelry to the world with a collection that features skillfully cultivated pieces with diamonds, precious stones and pearls in unique shapes and forms, capturing the essence of fine jewelry. The final curation is a sophisticated and feminine collection that distinctively dazzles the eye. After showcasing her collection in January 2019 during Couture Fashion Week, her brand has steadily caught the attention of the world. Verstraeten now makes all her jewelry in France, using ethically produced metals and KPCS diamonds.
We sat down with the incredible jewelry designer to find out how Verstraeten landed some of the world’s most coveted positions, who inspires her, the inspiration for her jewelry pieces and more!
How did you get started, and how long has the collection been around?
I launched my collection in January 2019 in Paris at Couture week. I had shown it some months before to British VOGUE Chief Editor Edward Enninful who announced it in the press with a wonderful profile page. I can’t thank him enough for such an introduction to the world.
How did you connect with Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld?
Back in 2010, I was helping the young designer Anthony Vaccarello and a young brand called Maison Michel Paris – CHANEL’s milliner. Someone recommended me to Karl as a jewelry and hat designer for CHANEL to replace the girl who was leaving. So, I had the pleasure to work on Karl’s side and discover the creative studio life. I measured everyday as a chance to work with this master from another time (more than 30 years at CHANEL). What a special one.
What’s the inspiration for your jewelry?
It’s all around me: in a movement or a detail in the nature. My signature piece for example, the “Diamonds rain” fringe earrings, dance on the ear, glistening like rain on a summer day. I definitely also find my inspiration in women themselves – in their shapes, their allure, and my first concern is to embellish their beauty. I design an aesthetic more than an object.
When did you start the collection?
I started more than 2 years ago to build the project and the collection.
What’s the name of your jewelry?
Tatiana Verstraeten, that’s it. I signed as a designer. I didn’t wanted to invent a brand name.
How long did you work at Chanel, and have you designed for the collection before Karl’s passing ?
I arrived in 2011 at CHANEL and designed more than 20 collections. These were very rich and intensive years. On Karl’s side I have learned to shape my ideas to something generous, luxurious, something magnificent. I left CHANEL before Karl passed to build my project. I was on a business trip in LA when the news happened. I felt so far from home (Paris).
What was your job before you designed jewelry?
I studied business and finance and helped young designers to grow up and gained international recognition in the ultra-competitive world of fashion. My creative side was developed at home with my mom, who is an incredible painter and sculptor (and also a pediatrician) and made me discover quite early all kinds of plastic arts.
What’s makes your designs different from other brands?
I guess my work is quite influenced by my background in costume jewelry at CHANEL. I have been trained to challenge shapes and forms and take risks, and I like to keep doing it while maintaining the very essence of high jewelry tradition. The pieces are very feminine and strong enough to accessorize your look, to truly bring something to it. I like sizable pieces of jewelry which are outstanding, but without any need to be chocking or clownish. Please no, elegance is crucial! My fringe earrings signature piece is remarkable but without being a show-off, and it really suits every woman of every age and style.
Who are your style icons, and why?
Caroline Bessette-Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn or Lady Di for their majestic elegance. Bardot for her sexiness. Beyonce for her incredible strength and shining beauty – she is a real Queen, a leader, and such a talent. Natalia Vodianova or Kate Moss for the innocence of their beauty. Diana Vreeland for her self-confidence. Today’s smiling and dynamic Hadid and Jenner. And so many other woman in my life.
Describe your personal style, and how you wear your jewelry with your look
With my jeans, I either superpose lots of jewels and chains. Or, what I love the most is to wear one outstanding piece to make my look – like a necklace.
When I wear a dress for the evening, I usually chose a beautiful pair of noticeable earrings, and nothing more but a nice simple and elegant hair and make up. According to the final color palette I will do sensual red lips or not.
Are you a vintage shopper?
I love vintage so much! Especially if I want to be chic at night. I am a fan of silk and you can’t find these qualities anymore but in vintage treasures. I love to spend Sunday morning at Les Puces de Saint Ouens in the north of Paris.
What are favorite stores to shop in Paris?
- Hermes – Rue de Sèvre for the new silk carré pieces by Octave Marsal.
- Merci – for any gift I have to make, as you find tones of nice ideas.
- Ault-Hervet — on 8 rue Volney for their very exclusive furnitures.
- Le Bon Marché for the exclusive brands they carry like ‘the Attico’.
- Librairie Galignani is perfect for carefully selected art book.
What is it about MODE’s Lifestyle Journal that you like?
To know about Charlene’s choices. I would follow her advice eyes closed!