Tucked away in a courtyard behind rue Saint-Honoré, Mad Lords is a Paris jewelry emporium like no other. Soulful crystals by Jacquie Aiche share space with California-chic diamonds by Anita Ko and braided silk and diamond bracelets by Patricia Arango, as customers try on gold medallions, chunky silver and dainty piercing studs to a rock soundtrack. Gone is the neutral interior and subtle lighting of traditional luxury stores, Mad Lords feels more artists’ hang-out, than chichi Parisian jewelry boutique.
The shop’s atelier feel and hippy chic style can be easily traced back to its owners, Serge and Caroline Muller, whose maximalist aesthetic and passion for gemstones first brought them to the jewelry world ten years ago. “We both have artistic DNA. My father was an art photographer, my family is made up of musicians and painters,” says Serge, “stones and especially diamonds have always been the type of beauty I have admired the most.” After 25 years, he left a successful investment banking career to start a jewelry store without a backward glance: “When the idea for Mad Lords came about, it was a way for me to finally combine what had always been my passion and my culture. I left my job with no regrets, to go and develop my passion alongside my wife.”
When they started out in 2012, fine jewelry was still largely about marking life’s milestones in a palette of diamonds and gold. Particularly in Paris, with Place Vendôme and the city’s high jewelry heritage just a few streets away, boutiques carrying international designers joyfully using colored stones and using fine materials to create style-led pieces, were few and far between. “Today, jewelry has maintained its magic, but has become more accessible in everyday moments,” say the Mullers, who count Lenny Kravitz, Gilles Lelouche and Black M as clients.
As well as an eclectic curation in-store and on-line, the pair now have stores in Saint-Tropez and Deauville and have more recently opened a bijoux piercing studio around the corner on rue Saint-Honoré itself. Down the street from Hotel Costes and opposite the former colette concept store, now a Saint Laurent flagship, Mad Lords is an easy destination for celebrities passing through the French capital for Fashion Week.
After spending time in New York, Serge and Caroline brought the Big Apple’s cosmopolitan mindset back to Paris, creating a store and with it, a look, that feels like a transatlantic mash-up of both cities. “Being Parisian means accepting the heritage of romantics and dandies of the 19th and early 20th century as well as the age of Enlightenment, which have deep implications in terms of aesthetic choices,” they say. “New Yorkers have a global and open perspective. One is more about history, the other is more about geography and traveling. Those differences have clear implications in terms of aesthetic choices.”
As a fine jewelry marketplace, Paris can sometimes feel a little too wedded to its history and the Mullers have fought at times over the past decade to grow their brand in the way they wanted. “We will never stop explaining that our philosophy goes far above basic jewelry curation. Our values matter highly to us, and make us different from any other retailer. Mad Lords is about our lifestyle, artistic convictions as well as our societal beliefs that extend to our human relations inside and outside of our company.”
As jewelry aficionados and lifestyle curators, here’s how to do Paris during Fashion Week, the Mad Lords way.
Serge and Caroline’s Paris Fashion Week Guide
A place for breakfast:
Serge: Hotel Brach in the 16th arrondissement
Caroline: Carette, Place du Trocadero
The best coffee in town:
Serge: Carette, Place du Trocadero. It’s authentic, historic, sunny and a great place to meet up with friends
The best for work and play:
Serge: We both love Soho House Paris
The best terrace for lunch:
Caroline: Hotel Costes has a cool terrace and the food is always good.
Where to go for fashion:
Caroline: KITH near the Champs Elysées, because it reminds me of colette
Where to go for interiors:
Where to go for gifts:
Caroline: Mad Lords of course!
You favorite Paris park or garden:
Serge: Jardin du Ranelagh, in the 16th. It’s in the neighborhood where we live and it has no gate because it’s one of the rare parks in Paris that is opened 24h. It’s also kid friendly and usually where we work out.
Caroline: I love the Jardin du Luxembourg or Les Tuileries Where to buy to best pastries:
Caroline: Cyril Lignac’s pastries! I strongly recommend the chocolatines…
Where to go to recharge:
Caroline: Deauville. It’s not Paris, but it’s considered the Hamptons of Paris so it works perfectly.
Your favorite spot for a quintessentially French dinner:
Serge: We enjoy having dinner at the Brasserie Voltaire
A bar for a nightcap:
Caroline: We’re usually in bed early, but when we’re not, we like ending the night at the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz
A place to sleep:
Caroline: My favorite hotel is the Hotel Providence, it’s very chic and intimate