BLINGIN’ IT IS TEN’S ONLINE SERIES WHERE WE SPOTLIGHT THE INNOVATORS AND CHANGE-MAKERS OF THE JEWELLERY WORLD.
Goossens Paris is a master of many. Known for its unmatched expertise in both jewellery and home decor – a notable industry rarity – the Parisian label has a pretty stellar history behind it. Founded by goldsmith Robert Goossens in the 1950s, the craftsman quickly found his feet in the fashion world, collaborating with household names like Gabrielle Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristóbal Balenciaga. After Chanel’s death in 1971, Goossens’ relationship with the French house continued, with ‘Monsieur Bijou’ (as he was sometimes called) crafting remarkable pieces like a gold-plated, rose quartz crucifix worn by Naomi Campbell for Karl Lagerfeld’s haute couture SS93 show. Often credited with the seamless blend of couture and costume jewellery, Goossens was bought by Chanel in 2005.
With quite the legacy to protect, the House of Goossens is set on maintaining its unique identity whilst never forfeiting quality or style. With Robert Goossens developing the brand’s distinct aesthetic to reflect Byzantium and Renaissance artistry, each new collection is handmade, offering truly individual pieces to be cherished for years to come.
Meticulously crafted by a team of artisans, model-makers, foundry men, electroplaters and fitters, each piece is produced with a healthy serving of tender loving care. A testament to the artwork they create, the Goossens atelier is located at the le19M gallery in the heart of Paris. Also acting as a showroom for the brand’s ornate furniture pieces, Goossens’ design lexicon is clear and awe-inspiring, with a sea of fine, gilded metals and natural rock crystals greeting you at the door.
In 2016, the brand’s founder died and the baton was passed to his son Patrick, who now oversees the it’s development. Keeping playful and curious with its recent ventures, the house released a tropic-inspired capsule with beachwear brand Eres in July, dropped a bridal-inspired collection entitled Venise in March, and its most recent release is an array of textured, hammered and patinated golden goodies.
A story of passion and peerless savoir faire, we sat down with Patrick and The House of Goossens to discuss the brand’s design language, its definition of luxury and the importance of making things by hand.
ON HIS LOVE OF CRAFT
Patrick: “Since a very young age, after school, I would wait in the workshops for my parents to finish working. Thus, I became acquainted with this world of tools, fire, dust, and noise. I wasn’t particularly passionate about high school, even though I was an excellent student. So I began my apprenticeship at the age of 15 for four years in the finest jewellery workshops. I think that if my father had a different profession, I would not be answering this interview today. You cannot be passionate (but rather attracted) to something you’re not good at it. The ‘passion’ comes from small successes over time.”
ON THE SAVOIR-FAIRE OF EXCELLENCE AT GOOSSENS
The House of Goossens: “The Goossens expertise is a mix of many techniques, we try to think outside the box whenever possible, saying ‘Yes’ to the wildest projects, but most importantly, staying contemporary. It is also the unique blend of Goldsmithing and jewellery (objects and jewels). We are unique in our trade. Apprentices and young craftsmen, designers, and creators are immersed in these two worlds, hoping they find their path.”
ON ITS DEFINITION OF LUXURY
The House of Goossens: “’Luxury’ is above all, a lifestyle… the artistic and the comfort are just facets of it.”
ON CRAFTING JEWELLERY FOR CULT DESIGNERS
The House of Goossens: “We are very discrete in fulfilling these requests and our workshops are extremely diligent during the collection periods to ensure the pieces are delivered on time. It can be very stressful for our ateliers but rewarding when we see the final result as it is intended.”
ON MAKING THINGS BY HAND
Patrick: “The hand brings that touch of imperfection that makes an object becoming alive, unlike the same object made by a machine. In our workshops, I strongly encourage the blend of the two, combining the efficiency of the machine with the poetry of the expert hand.”
ON WHAT INFLUENCES HIM
Patrick: “My main inspiration is my father’s work and philosophy about objects, which was instilled in him by Miss Chanel. The “well-made”, “comfortable” object or jewel, with beauty being subjective and its economic value being superfluous. To this is added for me, the “zeitgeist” so that the jewel can be worn by a woman, and her daughter or mother borrow it (or perhaps not give it back… I’ve experienced it!). Of course, all the men and women around me, professionally or otherwise, are my primary source of “validation” rather than inspiration.”
Photography courtesy of Goossens.