PARIS — Annelise Michelson is opening a showroom in central Paris, as the independent jeweler seeks to offer an intimate setting for clients in a more convenient location.
“Boutiques are not my thing,” said Michelson, who said she prefers a showroom format that offers a warmer, friendlier and less typical experience than a traditional store. Plans are to show artwork and sculptures in the space, reflecting the designer’s own interests.
Michelson in the past has brought clients to an apartment north of the Marais district, overlooking a quaint public garden, which had a certain off-the-beaten-path charm that was appreciated by clients but, for many, it was too far from the center. She also tested a pop-up store in the Marais more than a year ago, which helped her realize the importance of moving closer to the center.
The new space is on the Rue Boissy D’Anglas, near the Madeleine Church and Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, in the back of a courtyard — she didn’t want it to be like a retail store, on the street.
The move to the center comes as the designer seeks to broaden her offer to a wider audience — to move from a niche following to offer a more accessible range of jewelry. Michelson recently designed a bracelet for the high-end jewelry brand Fred, which added prestige to her label, also serving as a boost in her quest to widen her range beyond niche fashion jewelry.
“It raised the notoriety and the prestige of my label as well as positioning it more in the realm of jewelry than fashion jewelry — it worked with my message,” she said.
Her newest collection, called Unity, is inspired by nature, and offers more fluid styles than the sharp-toothed pieces with which she made her name. The Unity choker resembles twisted vines or wire, and similar shapes are offered as rings, a cuff bracelet and small charms, running from $140 to $450.
“It was more about clashes before, and here there is a more rounded side — with a notion of roots, and organic links — it’s very reassuring,” she said.
Around three years ago, Michelson decided to slow down the pace of her collections, taking more time to build new ones and carefully adding to existing ones.
“I really wanted to be loyal and sincere in my narrative — and I found it unbearable to have sales every two-and-a-half months — you can’t ask brands to sell everything in two months,” she said.
“I learned everything building my brand,” said the designer, who started in fashion before moving into jewelry, without formal training. She began by designing what she liked — voluminous pieces — and gradually sought to make jewelry that could be appreciated by a broader audience.
“I needed to democratize my design and make it more accessible,” said Michelson.