To celebrate the unveiling of the new Midnight Sun High Jewelry collection at the High Jewelry Show 2023, Founder and Artistic Director Valérie Messika shares her inspirations and looks back on the highlights of this exceptional event.
This year, the inspiration for your High Jewelry collection came from the parties of the 1970s. What was it that inspired you?
VALÉRIE MESSIKA (VM): In 2023, we celebrated 10 years of High Jewelry. I was looking for a festive theme which would allow us to showcase the full range of our creativity and expertise. I was immediately inspired by the grandiose celebrations of the 1970s. It was a time when everything was possible, which is a perfect reflection of this new chapter for the Maison.
With Midnight Sun, I explored colours, new themes, new looks and new techniques. The liberal and electric energy of the seventies allowed me to defend these new forms of expression. Going beyond just a simple fashion event, what we put on was a genuine show. Opulent diamond jewelry, a musical performance from Ava Max, flamboyant models and styling reminiscent of that era. This High Jewelry collection is a true spectacle.
One of the sets contains one of the largest diamonds ever set by Messika, a radiant yellow diamond of almost 35 carats. What can you tell us about this gem?
VM: It’s a new chapter in the family’s story! It was my brother, Ilan Messika, who made acquiring this exceptional gem possible. To enhance the brilliance of this yellow diamond, the diamond-cutters in my father's workshop, André Messika, spent long hours crafting it into the most dazzling radiant cut. It is the perfect illustration of the Messika family's diamond heritage! It's a new source of pride that we're lucky enough to be able to celebrate as a family.
At the Messika High Jewelry workshop, we decided to set it on a gold-plated piece, evoking Haute Couture similar to a Peter Pan collar. The bezel is openworked to allow light to shine through, accentuating the brilliance of this exquisite stone.
Midnight Sun is undoubtedly the most colourful high jewelry collection ever created by Messika. Why did you decide to do this? Does this mark a new direction in your jewelry design?
VM: Since Lucky Move, when I used ornamental stones for the first time, I've been incorporating more and more colour into my jewelry designs. For example, the yellow diamond is a recurring theme in this collection. This season's new approach was focused on cultured pearls, which we created in a range of colours to give them a trendier, more contemporary feel. This was a groundbreaking step for the Maison.
What can you tell us about the use of pearls and flowers, which seem so far removed from traditional Messika designs?
VM: These are two elements which were entirely unexpected and that’s exactly what I loved about this process! Taking two High Jewelry classics and giving them my own special twist. For the flowers, it’s all about the contrast between the gold and the diamonds. As for the pearls, my intention was to blend their curvature and sensuality with strong geometric shapes, giving them a modern, light and more masculine feel. It’s a play on balance and proportions.
As you mentioned, Midnight Sun also marks 10 years of Messika’s High Jewelry. What does this symbolise for you?
VM: Over the years, I think I've given myself more freedom to explore certain artistic themes that I was previously too scared to explore. If you were to compare the first of Messika’s High Jewelry creations and those of Midnight Sun, you can clearly see an evolution in my style as well as a certain maturity. Our designs are becoming bolder, more ambitious and more sophisticated.
I feel we have a story to tell and a voice of our own. We were able to interpret this artistic and traditional exercise with our own unique flair and expansive vision. It’s as challenging as it is inspiring! You'd think that the creativity would fade after 10 years, but I feel quite the opposite.
Another achievement this year is that Messika is one of the very few Maisons to be recognised by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. Your links with fashion are growing stronger. Was this what you were hoping for?
VM: I think that our High Jewelry is very closely linked to fashion. With this show, we consolidated our status as a trendsetter, particularly with our jewelry that adorns the whole body even more so than in previous seasons. Eyewear, mouth jewelry, head jewelry, belly jewelry and even clothing. We are a Jewerly and High Jewelry Fashion Maison and that's what we wanted to make clear with Midnight Sun at Paris Fashion Week.