There’s far more to Bordeaux than its namesake wine region. Trendy boutiques and independent designers abound in this fashion-forward city—rivaling Paris for the place to snag authentic French style. And jewelry designer Charlotte Guillard’s Apache has been a standout for the coolest, statement-making pieces ever since she opened her Bordeaux studio in 2015. Set near La Grosse Cloche, one of France’s oldest bell towers, Guillard’s shop doubles as a workshop where she handcrafts delicate, crave-worthy collections with a Native American-meets-French bent.
What do you love about living in Bordeaux and how does it inspire you? I like the relaxed way of life that reigns in Bordeaux. It’s a city steeped in history with magnificent architecture, and yet it also inspires with its proximity to the ocean and nature which I bring into my creations (flowers, shells, feathers, etc.).
How would you describe your design style? What makes it unique? My style is raw and poetic with a folk spirit. I draw inspiration from the Native American world with a hint of color brought by the weaving and stones. I also like to bring a unique touch through hammering and texture so the jewel has a bit of soul that makes it distinct.
What’s your process like and what materials do you love to work with? I create two collections a year, which always begins with a ton of research from fashion and decoration trends to mood boards and travel inspiration. Then I make sketches and prototypes—seeing the jewelry take shape is always a bit of a magic moment.
I work on a brass base that I cut, hammer, weld, and drill until I obtain the desired shape. Then comes the work of assembly, weaving and stone setting. I use a lot of emeralds and tourmalines, they’re my favorite stones.
What do you love most about your work? Creation! I love looking for new ideas and inspirations to create new pieces. I find jewelry an incredible playground for creativity.
What’s your favorite piece of jewelry you’ve ever created? It’s hard to choose just one! But if I had to say, it would be the MOKAYA ring. It’s a great representation of the brand: a delicate piece with unique hammering, stones cut to measure—and you can wear the rings separately.
What are you working on now? I’m currently working on the winter collection which will be revealed at the end of October! I’m only at the sketching stage, so there’s still a lot of work to do!