Hélène Poulit-Duquesne's Fresh Perspective On Innovation And Tradition
ELLE Singapore|November 2021
When Hélène Poulit-Duquesne joined Boucheron as CEO, her fresh perspective on innovation and tradition brought the storied brand into its next chapter
Farisia Thang

For over 160 years, the house of Boucheron has stood at 26 Place Vendôme. The very first jewellery maison to set up shop in that famous square has since crafted a lasting legacy with its eyecatching designs characterised by distinctive stones, perfect proportions and abstract forms. As jeweller Henri Vever once said, Frédéric Boucheron was making pieces that “very few of his colleagues would have dared to make at the time”. And so it should be that those who would go on to take up the mantle of leading the house would hold both innovation and tradition in equal regard. Such is certainly the case for Hélène PoulitDuquesne, CEO of Boucheron, who took up the reins in 2015 and in so doing, ushered the house into a future that embraced technology as a way of paying tribute to its past.

Growing up, Poulit-Duquesne’s parents — her mother was a doctor and her father an engineer — expected the same path of tradition for her, specifically one that led to business school. While she did follow that route, she also knew that her interests were artistic and that she wanted to work in luxury. As a child, she would collect stones. While they weren’t rare gemstones by any means, the idea of amassing a “treasure trove” of stones unsurprisingly set Poulit-Duquesne’s down the path toward jewellery. With her interests fixed upon the contrasting (yet complementing) pillars of art and business, it was only a matter of time before kismet brought her to the doors of Boucheron.

There, Poulit-Duquesne would go on to push the maison to new boundaries while preserving its long-lasting legacy. During her time at the helm, she has helped transform the idea of jewellery from mere status symbols to something far more meaningful, creative, and even playful. Jewellery, after all, has always been a reflection of the times, so steering Boucheron along the road ahead means staying culturally relevant as well as remaining reverent of its heritage and archival philosophies.

We spoke to Poulit-Duquesne about her personal journey, leading with empathy, and the legacy she wants to leave as the only woman at the helm of a storied Place Vendôme high jeweller.

From an outsider point of view, it seems that your journey to Boucheron came quite naturally – if not effortlessly. What were some challenges you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?

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