An Interview with Hedone Romane
Posted on 30 September 2016
Behind every designer, there's a story and we love delving behind the scenes to get to know our designers that little bit more.
Jeanne-Marie is the face behind the Paris based label, Hedone Romane. She creates truly unique, one of kind masterpieces, filled with character. Her jewels from created from noble materials to adorn beauty in all its splendour for eternity.
Let's dive straight into the fun part and get to know Jeanne-Marie a little bit more...
Where did you grow up?
In many places whilst travelling. I’ve long outgrown my birthplace and one could say I mostly aged in Paris.
What was your first job out of college/school?
Out of my MBA from ESSEC Paris in Luxury, my first job was in the wines & spirits handling international business development for Remy-Cointreau, Vin&Sprit, Highland Distillers and Jim Beam in Amsterdam. Oddly enough, this job led me to the next job – back to Paris responsible for the international marketing strategy and development of 7 brands of the LVMH Watch & Jewellery Division.
Was there a major event in your life when you realised that you wanted to make jewellery/accessories?
I’ve always had an artistic craving but somehow jewellery found me and I started working with LVMH. That is where I first discovered the vast world of jewellery. Having pieces come to life – imagination to reality – from sheer paper and stones into precious jewellery fascinates me to this day.
What was the first piece that you created? How have your designs evolved since then?
Flashback 2006 - my first piece is this seductive pair of chain earrings that brushed the shoulders in 18k white gold with white diamonds at the ends. Since then, as a designer, every piece created – whether fine or fashion jewellery – has been a forward motion especially in terms of technical knowledge, overcoming production limitations and pricing. As an artist, I am beginning to gain audacity in creative expression. I’d like to push the creative boundaries further. I have so much that’s stuck in my imagination and would like to have the creative freedom to realize all of them, if not at once, then progressively, gradually without haste. All of creation is evolution and then coming forth.
Does your local city/town influence your designs? If so, how?
In magical ways, Paris brings out the artist in me. It’s a love affair. I’ve travelled a lot and lived in different cities but I don’t get the same creative vibe elsewhere. Having worked at LVMH Watch & Jewellery Divison and at Van Cleef & Arpels, done an MBA specialized in Luxury Brand Management at ESSEC as well as design courses at BJO over the years – all in Paris – it’s a place that has much influence on my designs and my views on jewellery. It is where HEDONE ROMANE was conceived, where my jewellery is manufactured, and where I continue to work to make more dreams come true. I thought it only appropriate to do a tribute collection to those glorious times of French history, hence, the Fashion Jewellery collection `L’Antichambre de La Comtesse.’
Can you remember selling the first item that you made? How did you feel?
A decade ago - December 22, 2006 – I sold my first piece to a super woman in real estate and banking whose tastes in jewellery consist of large diamonds, emeralds, and jade set in gold - my Mom. She chose the most expensive fine jewellery piece I had in the collection then which was the Touch Me Not sautoir in 18k white gold with rubellite, rubies, and diamonds. I’m not sure she completely comprehends my artistic idiosyncrasies but it was an affirmation.
What stages do you go through to create a new piece? We would love to know your thought process.
It’s a creative chaos with more spontaneity recollected than thought or process. I always say you have to have lived to create anything of depth. Inspiration must begin inside for any ‘romantic originality’. My creations for HEDONE ROMANE are most powerful when intense emotions and passion drives my imagination. Somewhere between the conscious and the subconscious, I relate to the precursors of Romanticism in art and literature. Decadence, beauty, desire, love, glory, life, death, and immortality are central themes of my work. I love roses, palazzos, dreams, and the opera. I am drawn to forms that are irregularly paradoxical, curvaceously seductive and pompously dramatic combined with the opulence of gold and infatuating precious stones. Its not the commonality or the monotony of the everyday grind that inspires me but more the extraordinary, the grandeur, or the novelty of experience that makes my blood rise and my heart beat faster. Maybe this is why my jewellery isn’t exactly the kind to be worn daily without thought but rather ‘on occasion’ as mementos that make the every day more gloriously worth living.
Other than your own work, what is your most prized possession and why?
Jewellery which have been given to me. I’m a romantic and a sentimental fool. Jewellery are mementos and keepsakes.
Take us through your "typical" day at the workshop...
My days are very random. I’m not into routines apart from the coffee cups. I do most of work that require brainwork during the first half of the day and that which require more heart towards the later part of the day into the evening. There are times when I get pretty obsessive and can be totally immersed and lost in the momentum of things.
What part of the day do you look forward to?
Dawn and Dusk, Twilight, Sunrise and Sunset – these moments I find are the most beautiful and dramatic times when the sky metamorphoses into so many figurative and abstract forms and an array of gemstone colors. In those quiet spaces of time, there is oneness with the universe. Suddenly all dreams are possible.
If you could see any person in the world wearing your designs, who would it be and why?
My clients. HEDONE ROMANE is an acquired taste and we attract jewellery connoisseurs drawn to a hedonistic and romantic universe. They are not first time jewellery buyers. Sophisticated and cosmopolitan with exquisite taste, they wear fine jewellery and fashion jewellery with ease. They appreciate the details in the designs and recognize the French craftsmanship that goes into HEDONE ROMANE jewellery. Seeing my clients happily wearing HEDONE ROMANE jewellery is my happy pill. Here’s hoping I will one day count the likes of Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Rachel Weisz, Rosamund Pike, etc amongst my clientele ☺.
What has been the highlight for your brand so far?
Making it through a decade – 2016 marks the 10th year anniversary of HEDONE ROMANE since the beginnings –in the winter of 2006. We’ve gone from fine jewellery in 2006, to taking on bespoke commission pieces in 2008, and eventually diversifying into fashion jewellery in 2010. Over the years, we’ve hit several milestones from showcasing our travelling collections in select points-of-sales in Europe starting with Le Bon Marche, Selfridges, Artcurial, to online channels with Luisa Via Roma, More is Love, Wolf & Badger among others. We’ve had press coverage which included Elle, Lash, Soon, Financial Times, West East, etc. My personal favorite, “Touch Me Not” ring, was featured in a book, “Jewellery Design from Fashion to Fine Jewellery” by Elizabeth Galton, which brought me much pride and joy, as somehow I am part of the history of jewellery. It’s been a fabulous roller-coaster ride and I’m sure the next decade will be even more spectacular.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt as an entrepreneur?
Certainly one of the most important – listen to your inner voice. Oh and acting lessons may help with the juggling acts.
What would we find in your bag right now?
During the day, my bag is usually extra-large in size and at the least I would have my purse, nude lipstick, face powder, sunblock, sunglasses, pens, post-its, iphone, ipad, and jewellery among other items. At night, I try to go minimal with red lipstick, cash, credit cards, iphone, and of course - jewellery. If its not on me, then it may be in my bag.
What item can you not live without and why?
HEDONE ROMANE Jewellery. It has my heart and soul.
Sum up your personality in 3 words?
And demystify myself? To quote Oscar Wilde – “To define is to limit.” Let’s say I’m a little more complex than 3 words and I would hate to be a foregone conclusion.
What is your favourite song right now?
The aria “Il dolce suono” from Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. I’m working on a new masterpiece and I usually play opera in the background. Opera has a peculiar way of elevating your soul and opening up the imagination into other worlds. All that emotion is artistically liberating.
Describe your perfect weekend…
Creating new memories in good company or dreaming up the next jewellery masterpieces in secret.