- The Glitterati
THE GLITTERATI QUESTIONNAIRE
10 QUESTIONS FOR ALINE SYLLA-WALBAUM, MANAGING DIRECTOR EUROPE, & DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC PROJECTS AT CHAUMET.
Aline Sylla-Walbaum is a graduate of HEC, Science Po Paris and L'École Nationale d'Administration (ENA). She began her career in civil service at the Ministry of Economy and Finance as Inspector of Finance. In 2002, she joined the Louvre Museum as Deputy General Administrator, Director of Cultural Development, then she held the role of "Culture and Communication Advisor in the Prime Minister's Office from 2007 to 2008.
Aline continued her career in the private sector by joining the European real estate company Unibail-Rodamco as Deputy General Manager for Development. Finally, she joined Christie's, a world-famous auction house, and became General Manager of the Luxury division. She is currently Managing Director Europe and Director of Strategic Projects at Chaumet.
Aline lives in Paris with her husband with whom she shares not only a birthday AND the zodiac sign of Gemini (double twins!) but also 3 children. Somehow, she manages to find time to love historical novels as well as their televised counterparts and can be found binge watching Bridgerton, Sissi, The Tudors, or more recently, The Crown of the Kings. Nothing like relaxing while catching up on some bejewelled history and scandal!
1. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My heroes (Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel among others), art (I’ve been somewhat dealing with art since teenage) and inspiring women (of which The Glitterati community is an inexhaustible source!
WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF LUXURY?
Elegance. It is an object, a place, a sensation that is not necessarily ostentatious but that reaches such an obvious balance and perfection that you wouldn’t fathom altering it the slightest and which poetry you’d like to capture for eternity as it encompasses the beauty of the world in one single and perfect glimpse. Hence luxury can be a wonderful jewel, a perfectly fitted dress, a bold design piece, a superbly set table, or an unforgettable landscape.
3. WHICH JEWELER OR WATCHMAKER DO YOU MOST ADMIRE, WHY?
Too difficult to pick just one…Joseph Chaumet of course but I have a particular fondness for Suzanne Belperron and Elsa Peretti. Viren Bhagat and Hemmerle are my favourite contemporary jewellers. Each of them do epitomize my definition of luxury!
4. IN YOUR NEXT LIFE YOU ARE A JEWEL OR OBJECT, WHAT ARE YOU, WHY?
A platinum and diamond Art Deco bandeau. I’m an absolute fan of this period and this is a very contemporary way to wear it. You could also adapt it to be 2 bracelets and/or a choker so 1 choice = many options!
5. SET A DINNER TABLE FOR 6: WHICH 5 INDUSTRY PEOPLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR TABLE WITH?
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Dina Vreeland, Dame Barbara Hutton, Jacques Cartier and Emmanuel Tarpin.
6. YOUR DREAM JOB IT WEREN'T THIS ONE
Director of the Museum of Jewellery that needs to be created one day near Place Vendôme (original idea by Vanessa Cron). I’ll be in charge of the management, finance and development as my forte.
7. YOUR GREATEST JEWELLERY/WATCH MEMORY/EXPERIENCE TO DATE?
Holding the Grand Mazarin that we sold at Christie’s in 2017. As I grew up in Versailles (the town, not the castle), it meant so much to me: 400 centuries of French history and its charming light pink hue in my hand. As far as watches go, it was the Patek Philippe Ref. 2497 once owned by Hailé Selassié, Emperor of Ethiopia, at that time the only independent African country. It appeals both to my taste for iconic Patek watches and my African heritage.
8. YOUR FAVOURITE GEMSTONE?
Intellectually, I love the alexandrite and ametrine for the phenomena they display. But really, when it comes to wearing it: diamond, diamond, diamond!
9. YOUR MOTTO FOR PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS?
Find out what you like doing best and find someone to pay you for doing it.
10. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING IN THE INDUSTRY?
Be as curious as you can be. Join the Glitterati, and, quoting Master Rahul Kadakia: “Dream big, it does not cost you anything!”