People say, ‘Oh, to be the daughter of Picasso!’ But it’s not as extravagant as it seems. He was very special, very vibrant, but he was my father. I didn’t have another.
Paloma Picasso is an internationally famous jewelry designer and fashion icon. She is the youngest child of the writer and painter, Françoise Gilot and the legendary Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. She never wanted to be compared to her father and worked very hard to make a name for herself in the world of jewelry design, and most importantly, she succeeded.
Paloma Picasso was born on April 19, 1949, in Vallauris on the French Riviera. She was surrounded by artists and intellectuals from a very young age, but even then, she was determined that she didn’t want to become a painter like her famous father, and as years passed by she managed to step out of the shadow of her famous name.
She was named after the dove her father drew for the 1949 International Peace Conference in Paris. As she says, “My name, Paloma, means ‘dove’ in Spanish. It stands as a symbol of peace and purity”. In 1953, when she was 4 years old, her mother left her father, but Paloma continued to spend her summers with him in the south of France. Later she attended the Université de Paris at Nanterre and after that, she began designing costumes for avant-garde theater productions in Paris.
She fashioned necklaces from gem-set bikinis found at a flea market, which captured the attention of theater critics. Encouraged by her early success, she started studying jewelry design and soon, Yves Saint Laurent asked her to design jewelry to complement his collections. By 1971, she had started designing gold jewelry for the Greek jewelry company, Zolotas.
It was April 8, 1973, when her father died and she took a break to catalog the artist’s estate and help establish the Musée Picasso in Paris. Her big break came in 1979 when John Loring, who was named design director for Tiffany, invited her to participate in an exhibition. In 1980, Tiffany introduced Paloma Picasso’s first exclusive collection of jewelry.
Four years later, she began experimenting with fragrance, she created three perfumes – Paloma Picasso, Tentations, and Minotaure – for L’Oréal. She also designed accessories, sunglasses, linens, and her trademark lipstick Mon Rouge. Her success brought her international recognition and she became one of the most influential designers in the world. In 1988, she was honored by The Fashion Group as one of the “Women Who Have Made an Extraordinary Impact on Our Industry”.
In 2010, she marked her 30th anniversary at Tiffany & Co. by introducing a collection based upon her love of Morocco, called Marrakesh.
Together with her husband Eric Thevenet, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, she moved to Lake Geneva in Switzerland, where she founded the Lausanne-based Paloma Picasso Foundation in 2001.