The Understated Glam of Isabelle Michel

The Understated Glam of Isabelle Michel

The unmistakable orange of the vintage Hermes cabochon — a perfect complement to the coral shaped earring. Available in gold or silver.

The unmistakable orange of the vintage Hermes cabochon — a perfect complement to the coral shaped earring. Available in gold or silver.

Isabelle Michel’s jewelry is deceptively simple. A clean, bold style is the first impression. But a careful look reveals the perfect balance of the pendulum, the complex weave of the chain, the mix of materials. A vintage Hermes cabochon here, a paper-clip neck chain there, the rounded edge of a disc or the ombre of a cornelite stone — all is subtle and nuanced.

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Isabelle is the image of her collections. 

Tall and slender, with short hair and a preference for a decluttered look.

The poetry and nuance reveal themselves when she speaks. A soft voice, almost husky. Words delicately spoken from the front of the mouth and carefully chosen to share her love of French fashion. Her strong artist hands move in unison with her words, gracefully emphasising a point about color or stance, gently pressing your arm when sharing her passion for Yves Saint Laurent or the glamour of the fifties. Hands that she dresses often in one of the 200 pairs of gloves from her private collection.

I loved having a look around her atelier, which of course is in her image. Located outside Paris near the Marne river, it is a bright white space with windows overlooking her garden. A multitude of boxes, drawers, and trays keep her collection of baubles and parts organised, next to sketches, doodles and finished drawings. A graduate of the Academie Charpentier in Paris, her creative process is meticulous and complex. Isabelle works closely with a few Parisian ateliers that have been specialising in crimping, gilding and setting for generations. Nothing is left to chance, the design evolving during the conversation between Isabelle and the artisans — perfectly marrying the design intent and the technical requirements ensure that each piece achieves a flawless balance and perfect proportions.

An intricate pattern laser cut by hand with great precision. Entirely articulated, the pendent moves and reflects the light in many directions. Available in gold and silver.

An intricate pattern laser cut by hand with great precision. Entirely articulated, the pendent moves and reflects the light in many directions. Available in gold and silver.

With a touch of the Art Deco era, these earrings evoque cocktail parties of the 50s' although they are chic enough to wear everywhere. Note how the glass cabochon gives depth to the design. Available in gold and silver.

With a touch of the Art Deco era, these earrings evoque cocktail parties of the 50s' although they are chic enough to wear everywhere. Note how the glass cabochon gives depth to the design. Available in gold and silver.

The unmistakable orange of the vintage Hermes cabochon - a perfect complement to the coral shaped earring. Available in gold or silver.

The unmistakable orange of the vintage Hermes cabochon - a perfect complement to the coral shaped earring. Available in gold or silver.

So if you enjoy a little understated glam, a vintage clin d’oeil in your wardrobe, a no fuss look, Isabelle Michel’s jewelry is for you.

Pairs perfectly with...

Isabelle Michel and Matter Matters share the same love of restrained elegance — you can’t go wrong pairing them.

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