Les Néréides begins with a love story.
Pascale and Enzo met as teenagers at the Academy des Beaux-Arts. She was from three generations of artists; he was from a large Italian family. Young and in love, the couple married, moved to Nice and founded Les Néréides in 1980. Three decades later, Les Néréides is a poetic, quintessentially French brand that honors storytelling, style and craftsmanship – just as the idealistic designers imagined it would many years ago. Enchanted by their costume baubles, we had to ask about their unique design process and discover the source of their unending inspiration.
OuiPlease: Did Pascale and Enzo study jewelry design at the Academy des Beaux-Arts? If not, how did they discover jewelry design?
Les Néréides: It was love at first sight for Pascale and Enzo, when they studied photography (not jewelry design) at the Academy des Beaux-Arts. Pascale was from three generations of artists. Enzo had grown-up in the heart of a large Italian anti-conformist family. It was the fusion of two universes. Pascale has always loved jewels: from the age of 14 she was wearing her mum’s jewels. One creation led to another, one by one, they started to make their own jewelry to share their love for beauty.
OP: How would you describe the style of the Les Néréides collection? How has it changed over the years?
LN: The style of Les Néréides collections is emotional, poetic, calls to memories. It is hyper-feminine, the brand is always deeply aware of the details. The collection plan is quite similar over seasons since our customers have specific theme expectations, such as flowers, narratives and animals. Through organic, vegetal shapes, Les Néréides transports women to a dream world. Everything is carefully designed: is the right flower adapted to the right season, is the right animal placed in the right environment?
The style has become more structured over the years. First, we were using numerous materials; today we have a very good knowledge of our customers to create a unique jewel adapted to each one of them. We can say that we have come to the supremacy of the jewel Les Néréides today.
OP: Where do you gain inspiration? What was the current collection inspired by?
LN: The wild and fanciful universe of Les Néréides has always found its inspiration in nature as well as in travelling. The two designers, Pascale and her son Pier-Paolo, Les Néréides Artistic Director, bring back treasures from every one of their journeys. Old dolls, night lights, statues, vintage jewelry, paintings, anything that evokes memory with emotional value.
The fall/winter 2017 collection has rich symbolism. In the Moonlight has snow owls and eagle owls, which are symbols of good fortune. As for Winter Garden, this is a collection that pays tribute to a famous female scientist who dedicated her life to botany. Golden Vegetals reinterprets and modernizes Art Deco classic jewelry to celebrate autumn greenery and forest fruits in time for fall. With each Les Néréides collection, there is always a story, a souvenir, an emotion.
OP: What is the process of creating a piece for the collection?
LN: At Les Néréides, we do not work on a single piece but on a collection as a whole. We create an entire history. The narrative stretches from the biggest necklace to the smallest earring. Throughout the collection, all of the details are carefully tended to. Every piece of jewelry is handmade, an artisanal creation and thus unique. We use the exact same process that fine jewelry designers use – every final creation starts with a drawing. For our biggest necklaces, it takes many hours just for hand-painting and hand-enameling – that doesn’t even count the time spent creating the mould, pouring the wax and assembling the pieces.
OP: How does Les Néréides represent, interpret or complement classic French style?
LN: Les Néréides is a french designer brand. We care about artisanal craftsmanship and know-how just as French couture houses do. Prioritizing this know-how brings French style into the Les Néréides world. Les Néréides creations are elegant, refined, detailed and sophisticated in their realization but stay fresh and easy to mix and match for any occasion.
Discover Les Néréides and other unique French accessory brands in OuiPlease Vol.2.3 Summer Escapade. Become a OuiPlease Member today and receive Vol.2.3 at your doorstep this August.