The French maison's sixth high jewellery collection "resembles a caress", says Pierre Hardy, creative director of Hermès Jewellery

“The whole collection resembles a caress. The necklaces are as soft as arms around the neck,” says Pierre Hardy of his latest creation, the Hermès “Lignes sensibles” high jewellery collection. It's hard to imagine what the creative director of Hermès Jewellery means by that, but looking at the pieces, you can almost grasp his philosophy immediately. 

He had based the design of each creation on patterns inspired by circuits, grids and lines, resulting in 45 pieces of structural beauty that represent the anti-thesis to traditional high jewellery designs. For one, the focus of the pieces is on how they can accentuate the sensuality of the human form, unlike the regular bejewelled creations that are designed to show off the beauty of the gemstones. Simply put, the collection sits well on the body, with the skin guiding the jewellery pieces how to rest. 

This is Hardy's sixth Haute Joaillerie collection since he was appointed the creative director for jewellery in 2001. Comprising 45 pieces, the “Lignes sensibles” collection is divided into five lines: A l'écoute; Ondes miroirs; Hermès Réseau lumière; Contre la peau; and Hermès Faire corps. Expect to see uniques combinations of diamonds of various colours and semi-precious gemstones such as tourmalines, opals, citrines and quartzes. 

The piece de resistance of the collection is the Contre la peau necklace, a "golden lattice sprinkled with diamonds"—aptly described in the press notes. Versatile enough to worn as a rivière as well as a scarf, the necklace is the perfect demonstration of the superlative craftsmanship and in-depth know-how of the master artisans at Hermès. Gold meshing is a technique that is difficult to master, especially to keep the creation soft and supple. 


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Here, the French designer brings us through his thought process in conceptualising and developing the “Lignes sensibles” collection. 

Tell us how the collection takes creative cues from patterns inspired by circuits, grids and lines. 

Pierre Hardy (PH) I was inspired by objects that are used to listen to the body, such as the stethoscope, which allows you to hear sounds and vibrations that are otherwise imperceptible to the ear. I wanted to transcribe these interior areas, to sketch their design on the skin. I see these lines as radiating out from them. I like the idea that you can choose a different anatomy, reinvent an intimate sensory system, like a wave that is made visible and given form by jewellery.

The softness that characterises the collection is also found in its hues. Why so?

PH I wanted to use a range of gemstones in colours close to skin tone. I looked for flesh colours, shades specific to the complexion, the lips, or the iris. I looked for cloudy, milky materials to become one with the skin. In my previous collections, the link with the body was achieved through metaphors, such as the chain. Here it is direct: the jewellery is closer than ever to the body itself. The pieces fit closely around the finger, around the neck, around the wrist. I wanted to return to this symbiosis: to be at one with the skin.

Light plays an important role for this collection too. 

PH In paintings, I like details of tears, droplets and pearls on which light reverberates. In the same way, pieces of jewellery are accents that catch the light and reflect it. They are like chakras, the body’s energy points defined in ancient India. In my own way, and without any form of mysticism, I have sought to reinvent these sensitive areas that the light glides over, producing impressions of beauty.

Were you also thinking of movement? 

PH Yes, in my mind, the material is constantly changing, and the collection follows this progression: it goes from the most tangible to the most immaterial. My combined passion for anatomy and dance led me firstly to consider bones: the wrists, and the beauty of bone structure. That then brought me to the idea of a circuit, and to droplets and expression—to the limits of the body.

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