PARIS — Louis Vuitton is launching its first excessive jewellery marketing campaign, fronted by Alicia Vikander, marking steep ambitions from the luxurious label because it continues its push into the class.
“She’s very regal but approachable,” mentioned Michael Burke, the model’s chief govt officer, talking with WWD from an higher ground assembly room of its buzzing Pont Neuf headquarters right here. The govt pointed to her coaching as a classical dancer, stressing the significance of exhibiting the motion of the physique for displaying jewellery.
“There’s a return to jewelry that’s sensual,” he remarked, including that jewellery worn on the pores and skin — quite than within the hair, for instance — takes on a “whole new sensuality.”
The govt famous that Nicolas Ghesquière, who designs the label’s girls’s collections, began working with Vikander first. The designer felt she had “the right energy, and the right type of grace and movement and expression to bring his clothes to life,” Burke mentioned.
He famous a compatibility in model with Francesca Amfitheatrof, Louis Vuitton’s inventive director for jewellery and watches.
“She designs for that type of woman, she doesn’t design girly little flowers. Nobody needs another girly little flower thing, with center stones and some brilliant diamonds around it. The market is full of that,” he mentioned.
“It has to be authentic,” mentioned Burke, on the subject of model ambassadors.
“She’s not overexposed — she’s her own person, she’s quite mysterious,” mentioned Amfitheatrof, talking in a separate interview via a Zoom name, describing Vikander.
The actress has a “sense of mystery where you want to know more about her,” added Amfitheatrof. The designer identified that placing her face to the label serves as a unifying power for the work of three completely different inventive administrators — the third being Virgil Abloh, inventive director for Vuitton’s males’s collections.
“We are three different artistic directors who all do three very different things; it’s great to have one person that kind of is the umbrella over all of it,” she famous.
The historic trunk maker started constructing the high-end jewellery class round a decade in the past. It has workshops on an higher ground perch of the Place Vendôme flagship, and made headlines final 12 months introducing the invention — and its possession — of one of many world’s greatest tough diamonds, the Sewelo.
This 12 months, the home is marking 200 years for the reason that beginning of its founder, Louis Vuitton, with its largest jewellery assortment made up of 90 items, titled Bravery. The jewellery attracts key themes from Vuitton’s life, beginning with star configurations within the sky when he was born — the Constellation d’Hercule necklace — filled with stones, mixing tsavorites, tanzanites and 50 carats of Australian opals. Other themes embrace “The Mythe,” which includes a three-row necklace with a 19.7-carat cabochon sapphire from Sri Lanka, an 8.6-carat Colombian emerald and a 7.11-carat sapphire from Madagascar. Other key items embrace the transformable Star du Nord necklace, which features a 10-carat monogram minimize diamond.
“I love to put a lot of stones all in one piece, so instead of having your emerald, and your diamonds, you’ve got all of them, on one necklace,” mentioned Amfitheatrof, describing her strategy to at least one piece. “Why not, plus a flawless and another two diamonds!”
The items draw on home codes, some sprinkled with monogrammed star- and flower-cut diamonds — patented — and that includes diamond-pavéd cords and locks, in addition to latticework impressed by the options of the trunks and their interiors.
It was designed over the previous two years, via what Amfitheatrof described as a really distinctive course of, given the lockdown — she was based mostly in Connecticut.
“I had seen the stones, so it’s not that I didn’t know them but we weren’t best friends — put it that way — we met,” she mentioned, noting the problem of not having the stones readily available.
Being remoted, nevertheless, carried benefits, permitting for a deep dive into design, with out the disruptions of life beneath regular actions.
“I had complete isolation and the time to really go into it deeply, in a way more deeply than you’re used to because of all the rushing around, the flying around,” she mentioned. “That was kind of fabulous.”
This is her third assortment for the label, and she or he mentioned that helped by way of belief and understanding in addition to communication with groups.
“I think this was a real moment where experience showed,” she mentioned.
Describing the work course of, she mentioned she challenged her groups within the workshops via common Zoom calls that had been maintained all through the pandemic.
“I really pushed them, because that’s what I know they can do and that’s what we want to achieve, because if you’re going to do something quite graphic and quite bold, it has to be sensual, it has to be feminine, it has to sit on your skin in a way that is full of lightness and movement,” she mentioned.
Speaking in regards to the jewellery within the assortment that featured cords and pompoms, she defined that every part contained a person piece, for “total fluidity.”
“It’s a weave — and that moves as well,” she mentioned.
“For me, the joy, the utter joy that I have, is that I’m very into the making of the pieces and I’m very into the engineering and I’m very into the fact that they all need to move,” mentioned Amfitheatrof.
Working with Place Vendôme jewelers is the “joy of all joys,” she enthused.
Being skilled as a jeweler herself, when it got here to working remotely, additionally helped, she mentioned, describing the method.
“I can sit with them and say, ‘hold on a second, what if we do this and this and that.’’’
“I think by now there’s a certain sense of pride as well, because they’re phenomenal what they can do,” the designer added.
Describing workshops which have been constructed from scratch beneath Burke’s management, she famous a mixture of the the “most famous” and greatest, in addition to youthful artisans — who proved to be significantly adaptable throughout lockdowns, some constructing an area at residence to maintain working.
When it got here to the inventive course of, Amfitheatrof mentioned she thought loads about the home founder and what made him distinctive.
“It felt like I was walking alongside Louis Vuitton, the man,” she mentioned, noting he can “get a little bit lost” given the excessive degree of vitality and exercise on the luxurious home.
Reflecting on Vuitton, she mentioned she thought in regards to the Age of Enlightenment, when he arrived in Paris, and the sense of growth that he will need to have felt, as journey began to take off, with trains and boats — and trunks. The founder left his village within the mountainous area of Jura on the age of 12, on foot — arriving within the French capital two years later.
“That’s how you get your education, you leave a boy and you arrive a young man,” she mentioned.
“It’s curious that he had this drive, that he had this differentiating character that wanted more, and nobody else in his family was like this,” added the designer.
“There is something that is intangible that makes each one of us unique and definitely he had this combination of different interests, and I think that arriving in Paris, and feeling and breathing and understanding that change and understanding society, politics, geography, political advancements — he just saw what could be done,” she added.
His baggage enterprise was “a technological achievement but also an aesthetic — an aesthetic that is still chic today, still elegant and modern,” Amfitheatrof asserted.
“I don’t know if Louis had ever imagined getting involved with billion-year-old stones,” remarked Burke, reflecting on the hyperlink between excessive jewellery and the model. He went on to attract connections between the label’s previous custom and present exercise.
“It’s lasting, enduring quality and value, and that’s what makes a luxury house versus a fashion house,” he mentioned, noting he expects excessive jewellery from Louis Vuitton to promote effectively within the public sale homes sooner or later.
Amfitheatrof and Burke each cited the work of sourcing stones as essential.
“It starts with the hunt — primordial instincts — and it can take years and years,” mentioned Burke, noting that stones within the Bravery assortment took years to supply, describing ready for a stone’s cousin, its alter ego, its reverse.
The govt famous that on the subject of the luxurious universe, gem stones are the uncooked materials that has the strongest affect on the inventive consequence of a bit.
“It’s a tango between the cutter and the polisher and the designer,” he mentioned, repeating the record of gamers, to work within the function of ‘the stone.’
“The stone is the most important, the stone has the loudest voice in determining what the final product will be,” he mentioned.
“That I love, that excites me, makes me get up in the morning — that’s something I really like because it’s a bet, you’re betting on the rough,” he mentioned.
“If you want to have an exceptional stone you have to start now, you have to go upstream, you have to be a lot more involved upstream, with the people in the field, and you have to tell them what you’re looking for — and if they know where to look it’s going to be closer to what our dreams are than if you just come to the table and just look at finished stones,” he added.
Burke defined how the home solid relations with cutters and polishers in Antwerp to invent the flower minimize.
“The more you’re involved upstream the more you’re going to have an impact on the jewelry and the more the finished product can be striking, unique and specific to your house,” he added.
To illustrate Vuitton’s strategy as taking dangers, with colours and cuts, for instance, Burke talked about that cabochons had been used within the assortment for the primary time, noting medieval and Eastern influences, but in addition their genderless nature.
Yes, males are keen on excessive jewellery he mentioned, noting a lot of items within the assortment have already been offered to males.
“This is not something we think is going to happen — we’re in the middle of it,” he mentioned.
As for the well-known Sewelo diamond, it’s nonetheless in its tough state.
“We’re just at the initial stages, nobody’s in a rush, it’s so unique so we’ll see what happens,” he mentioned, noting analysis is ongoing, which maybe would possibly immediate concepts.
“We may have something completely out of left field that comes to us after visualizing the inside of the rock,” he mentioned.