Spoon. Photography Maisie Cousins
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Photographer Maisie Cousins: Beautés du Monde – a sugar-centric feast

Macarons, licorice, marzipan and exotic fruits ignite our appetite for Cartier’s high jewelry collection, Beautés du Monde in a photoshoot by Maisie Cousins

Cartier, Beautés du Monde

Expectations were high based on the name alone of Cartier’s high jewelry collection: Beautés du Monde. A broad promise, which only the number one high jeweler could keep.

The idea is to look at nature’s many constructions as well as human creations, encompassed in the concept of culture. Not everything is organic — geometry, symmetry and asymmetry are also prevalent.

The Beauté du Monde collection has different chapters. The first was launched in the former UK embassy in Madrid with ninety-seven pieces, while the gala dinner was held at the nearby Palacio de Liria

Maisie Cousins’ festive banquet 

The collection offers an abundance of colors and patterns from all continents, as if writing its own universal language. The creative studio, along with the atelier, has found an opportunity to experiment further with the vast beauty of the world. Flexibility and sinuosity are key. All the Beautés du Monde renditions are hybrids from the animal, vegetal, textile or earth worlds. They exalt our senses by their formidable singularity.

It seems that multidisciplinary British artist Maisie Cousins was most impressed by the delectable aspect of the collection when she photographed some of the pieces. In her world and this photoshoot, high jewels are as desirable as a plate of macarons.

The symbolic resonance between pleasure and consumption is evident in the saturation of pop colors, which compounds the sugar overload. 

Is this what Maisie Cousins attempted to capture in this photoshoot? Is the unveiling of a high jewelry collection akin to salivating before a festive banquet? In every photograph, one can sense that Cousins is appealing to our taste buds as much as our eyes. 

The decadence in Maisie Cousins’ work

A yellow plate sits on a pink sugar-paved board. It is decked with licorice-stuffed green sweets and a few green and pink open macarons. A black tin stands on the side. The all-white diamond Enivre necklace has made its way through the candy decor. Its main elongated custom-cut diamond is resting on one of the licorice as if trying to avoid the pink crystals. 

On a silver platter, a glossy yellow jelly dessert is topped by a twirl of Chantilly cream. It is accompanied by a confit cherry on the side. The true ‘cherry on the cake’ of this scenography is the Impulsion necklace. The row of three cushion-shaped blue sapphires stand out against the yellow, white and red. The white diamond strands echo the glistening texture of the food.

Associating delicacies with high jewels emphasizes the notions of greed and indulgence. The Impulsion necklace is displayed on a platter of sugar-coated marzipan fruits, this time alongside one of its matching earrings. The image is finger-licking worthy; the diamonds mirroring the sugar crystals. 

The Red Ruacana necklace

A Cartier signature color combo, a stream of coral spheres and emerald beads converges on an emerald cabochon drop for the Red Ruacana necklace. The iconic Cartier panther is perched on top of the red coral cascade. The tropical atmosphere has been intensified by the photographer as she has placed the neck piece on top of a cheese and exotic fruit tray — custard apple, dragon fruits and green pesto gouda. The food components are chosen as much for their intriguing attributes as their color and texture. 

The Red Ruacana earrings

The Red Ruacana earrings are composed of the black and white tail of the panther, adorned with three coral balls and one round-cut emerald. One of the earrings is placed at the conjunction of an orange flower and a terrain of pink sugar grains. The latter is peppered with red leaves with a blue edge as well as unidentifiable organic elements. This is a reminder that Maisie Cousins’ broader work includes collages. There are visual additions that are foreign to the ensemble, yet connected to its aesthetics. 

In her creative endeavors, beauty is never far from decay. Here, the transience of food and flowers are offset by the permanence of the jewels. Of all the Beautés du Monde, Cousins has opted for beauty as transcendental.

Maisie Cousins

Cousins is a multidisciplinary artist working mainly with photography and collage. Her work explores themes of consumption, decay and sex. Maisie Cousins studied fine art photography at University of Brighton.

Olivier Dupon

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