PIAGET Rose Day celebrates the day on which one of the world’s most beautiful roses was christened the “Yves Piaget rose,” thus becoming a major source of inspiration for the house’s jewellery collections. For this year’s Piaget Rose Day, Piaget wrote a new chapter in the history of one of France’s most celebrated women, the Empress Josephine, and her fabled rose garden. On Rose Day, Piaget inaugurated the completely restored garden of old roses at the Château de Malmaison. Thanks to generous support from the Swiss jeweller, the legendary garden has been meticulously refurbished, along with two of Empress Josephine’s richly embroidered imperial garments. The effort highlights a shared passion for roses and affirms Piaget’s commitment as a patron of the arts and gardens.
“The rose brings my childhood back to me,” Yves Piaget liked to say. Throughout his life, he was captivated by the flower, to the point of creating the International Competition for New Roses in Geneva, of which the winner traditionally receives a golden rose. In 1982, the Meilland rose-breeders dedicated their most beautiful rose to Mr Yves Piaget. A splendid calyx made up of 80 pale “rose pink” scalloped petals, it was to become the jeweller’s muse and the signature of Piaget jewellery. Piaget shares this deep-felt love of roses with a passionate devotee from another era, Joséphine Bonaparte, the first wife of the Emperor Napoleon, who transformed the grounds of Malmaison into a legendary garden.
Sadly, two centuries later little remained of the rose gardens. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the death of Joséphine de Beauharnais (1814-2014), the Domaine de Malmaison embarked on a mission to restore them. They found their benefactor in Piaget and together implemented a massive restoration project, replanting 750 old roses from the First and Second Empires. This year’s Piaget Rose Day (June 5, 2014) was an opportunity to celebrate this important achievement and pay tribute to a unique part of the national heritage of France.
As further tribute to Josephine and her lifelong passion for roses, Piaget has created the Rose Passion High Jewellery collection. The breath-taking assortment of 100 pieces features the iconic Piaget rose motif amidst dazzling diamonds and gemstones. Famed for her elegance and refinement, the Empress Josephine called upon the finest artisans of her day to craft her clothes and jewellery. Envied and copied by all the ladies of the imperial court, she became an important patron of Lyon’s silk industry and of a great many workshops. Many of Josephine’s treasures are kept in the Château de Malmaison National Museum. As part of its commitment, Piaget has sponsored the restoration of two of her most exquisite garments. A splendid dress and mantle made of ivory silk rep embroidered with gold, silver and crystal thread and sequins, is decorated with flowering sprays and lotus leaves. Symbolising the refined fashion of the time, the two pieces are majestically displayed in the central window of the “Joséphine” exhibition held at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris until June 29th 2014.
Joséphine Bonaparte(1763-1814), whose real first name was “Marie Joseph Rose”, acquired together with Napoleon Bonaparte the Château de Malmaison in 1799. A devoted enthusiast of botany and exoticism, she collected rare plants from all over the world in a 50 metre-long greenhouse. 200 plants, previously unknown in France, blossomed in the midst of exotic animals that roamed free on the Château’s grounds. The highlight of the garden, however, were the 250 species of roses planted by Empress Josephine, which drew visitors from across Europe. In 1805, the famous illustrator, P.J. Redouté, was commissioned by the Empress to create a comprehensive book on the roses that was to become one of the world’s most important botanical reference materials.
Piaget has succeeded in restoring this masterpiece of early 19th century fashion to the place it deserves, in the same way that it has breathed new life into the rose gardens at the Château de Malmaison. Together, these achievements add yet another chapter in the colourful history of the Yves Piaget rose.