Fine jewelry takes a road trip

Not so long ago, high jewelry shows in and around Place Vendôme closed the biannual haute couture shows.

However, this summer several of the biggest fireworks really happened, as brands from Bulgari to Van Cleef & Arpels presented their most exclusive collections in exotic locations.

Increasingly, master jewelers are adopting fashion-industry-like practices, choosing their own dates for elaborate events, and then turning to VIP clients, influencers, and editors for a few days of cocktails, appetizers, and cabochons. Everything looks a lot like extravagant cruise (or resort) deals that have come back with a vengeance since the pandemic waned.

While the link between the fine jewelry collection and the frame in which it is revealed may be tenuous, Luca Solca, luxury analyst at Sanford C. knows.

“This is an integral part of the deliberate escalation that major brands are pushing to leave competitors in the dust,” he added. “You can’t afford a high-profile show, major traveling shows, high-profile VIP entertainment in the four corners of the world? Then you can’t play in the Premier League.”

This season’s uber-luxury journeys kicked off in May when Bulgari unveiled its Mediterranea collection in Venice.

The house took over the 15th-century Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel for a week, installing oriental rugs, custom fabrics in jewel tones by the Venetian Rubelli firm, and sculptures in Venini glass to create a lavish showroom. An interactive jewelry-making experience driven by artificial intelligence was part of the entertainment, and NFTs were sold with jewelry like the Yellow Diamond Hypnosis, a white gold snake-shaped necklace wrapped around an intense yellow pear-cut 15.5-carat diamond.

The main event was a party at the Doge’s Palace honoring the 75th anniversary of Bulgari’s iconic Serpenti design, a celebration that began late last year and will continue through the first quarter of 2024. Brand ambassadors Zendaya, Anne Hathaway and Priyanka Chopra Jonas were joined by K-pop group Blackpink’s Lisa Manopal. to guests on the château’s balcony for a gem-filled runway show organized by fashion editor and stylist Carine Roitfeld.

Of the 400 gems in Venice, the brand said, ninety carry a cost of more than one million euros. And while Bulgari declined to comment on sales, the event appears to be a huge success on social media: Three posts by Ms. Manobal chronicling her “unforgettable night in Venice” garnered more than 30.2 million likes while two posts by Zendaya at Yellow Diamond Hypnosis totaled more than 15 million.

This season, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton presented their largest high jewelry collections yet.

For its 170-piece collection called Les Jardins de la Couture, Dior set up a June 3 runway on a garden path in Villa Erba, the former home on Lake Como of Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti, and sent 40 models dressed in floral gems. Themes by Victoire de Castellane, Creative Director of Jewelry for the House, and Haute Couture by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Director of Dior’s Women’s Collections.

Deep Time, Francesca Amfitheatrof’s fifth high jewelry collection for Louis Vuitton, was unveiled on June 13 at the ancient Odeon of Herod Atticus, at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, to a choreography choreographed by Dimitris Papaioannou and an original composition by classical violinist Renaud. nightmare. The 95-jewel presentation, the first chapter of the collection of more than 170 pieces in total, included a white gold and diamond necklace set with a 40.80-carat Sri Lankan sapphire. (For the first time, the house offered one-of-a-kind handbags in exotic leathers to match the jewelry.)

In Florence, Cartier transformed the garden of Villa Corsini into an amphitheater on May 24 for an 80-jewel show, the first chapter of a new collection called Le Voyage Recommencé (in English, The Journey Begun Anew).

And on June 21, Van Cleef & Arpels went to Rome to unveil Le Grand Tour, 70 jewels inspired by culture-seekers’ travels to the continent made by wealthy Britons. They include the Escale Sacrée (in English, Sacred Stopover), a hinged bracelet that depicts Florence Cathedral as a cathedral of white and rose gold against a night sky of beaded diamonds, blue and violet sapphires, and black spinels.

While the extravagance (not to mention the carbon footprint) of cruise fashion shows It was surprisingFine jewelry events haven’t drawn similar interest—at least not yet.

“There is a fatigue around cruise collections because it is about the clothes,” said Bruno Roland-Bernard, lecturer in financial management and luxury at the French Institute de la Mode in Paris, “but fine jewelry offers a way to create excitement that is complementary, fruitful and very cohesive for wealthier clients.”

He added, “It’s a dream scenario because it aligns with customers, and it’s a positive communicative and profitable vector.” “What will be interesting is to see how everything transforms into high jewelry, as haute couture does with ready-to-wear.”

Some homes still had some jewelry left to display in Paris this week. Dior, for example, said it will offer select pieces alongside items from its fashion, homeware, kids’ and accessories collections in a pop-up showroom on Left Bank.

Chanel, who presented the second chapter of Tweed de Chanel in London early last month, confirmed that she will be showing the new collection by appointment in the French capital as well.

The collection, which was inspired by Coco Chanel’s signature material, includes the Tweed Lion, a necklace in white and yellow gold set with rubies, spessartites, yellow sapphires, spinels, and diamonds. The diamond-encrusted lion head can be detached and worn as a brooch or on a simpler necklace, while a 10.17-carat pear-cut diamond pendant can also be detached and worn in a ring.