Circles of Influence

Charlotte Chesnais

Charlotte Chesnais, 2015.

Photographer: Sonia Sieff

If you found yourself on the endless wait list for the set of five golden rings from Nicolas Ghesquière’s final collection for Balenciaga, you are already a fan of Charlotte Chesnais’s work. The 30-year-old Parisian designer, who holds a degree from the renowned school Studio Berçot, spent nearly a decade at the French house, overseeing the archive-inspired Edition line before starting up its jewelry collection in 2009. “Nicolas wanted some pieces for his Les Parisiennes collection, and there was no one at the time doing jewelry in the atelier,” Chesnais recalls. She left Balenciaga just after Ghesquière did—“I had lost my master,” she explains—but not before debuting the bow bracelets that have since become an Alexander Wang signature. Now, having spent the past two years freelancing for a slew of other brands—including Kenzo, Maiyet, and Paco Rabanne, where she designs the covetable chain mail bags—Chesnais has set out on her own. “It’s not like anything I’ve done before,” she says of her eponymous jewelry line. “It’s really me.” Inspired by the sculptural work of Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti, the collection is composed of undulating metal pieces that spiral around the body: Cuffs coil up the hand; circular earrings orbit the lobes. “Each one is a beautiful object—even just sitting on a table,” she says. “That’s my interpretation of timeless.”

Hair and makeup by Caroline Bufalini at Backstage Agency France.