On one of my frequent trips to Paris, I visited the Carnavalet Museum and was astonished when I saw the preserved Fouquet/Mucha boutique. These two great heroes of mine actually collaborated in design, manufacture and retail. Imagining the partnership simply blew me away!
Fouquet was a brilliant French master craftsman who achieved the impossible, creating stunning works of art jewellery both in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. His father, Alphonse Fouquet, started the Fouquet jewellery company in the 1800’s and his son Georges headed the company together with his son, Jean, until its closure in the 1930’s.
In 1900 Georges Fouquet went into partnership with Alphonse Mucha, opening a boutique designed by Mucha in which jewellery was created by both master jewellers. The boutique was eventually demolished, the exterior and interior were preserved and rebuilt in the Carnavalet Museum.
The brilliance of Fouquet is that in 1922 he sensed creative changes. He managed to fully adapt to what was to become the new Art Deco style – not only did he adapt, but in many ways ushered in this new era. He modified what were his earlier innovative ideas of floral and figurative rationale to produce brooches, bracelets, belt buckles and pendants with extremely stylised abstract motifs. He replaced precious gemstones with new materials, such as onyx, jade and coral, combining these with the translucency of topaz, aquamarine, crystal and amethyst.