photoHigh Jewelry brands continue to embrace social media platforms – even new launching collections on Instagram. While core clients will remain long-time loyal collectors, jewelers intentions are to reach a new, younger audience that may be more tech savvy. Luxury brands (of any kind) will do well to be innovative and engaging with globally mobile future clients: hello “HENRYs“!

Of note are two recent high jewellery collection launches by Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari.

On June 24th, Van Cleef & Arpels released a short, charming video on Instagram announcing an unveiling. Next was a series with a single gemstone, followed by imagery in white paper of a palace, king and queen, and butterflies, which announced that a fairytale collection would be revealed the next day. Facebook and Twitter were employed to share the time of the grand occasion. A film still of a young Catherine Deneuve from Jaques Demy’s “Peau d’Âne” was released on June 27th, as it was the inspiration behind the new collection. Van Cleef & Arpels then shared an image of Chateau de Chambord, where the collection would be presented at a special event. Followers were then treated to a continual feed of the festivities, with glimpses of the jewelry throughout the magical evening.

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Similarly, Bulgari revealed on July 1st that their latest high jewelry collection would be revealed during Parisian Haute Couture week. As this year is their 130th anniversary, they set out to celebrate its past with initiatives that will lead the brand into the future. One such initiative is a project to restore Rome’s cherished Spanish Steps, following private investment to help maintain heritage monuments throughout Italy. With the intention to be perceived as innovative as well as a revered established brand, Bulgari began posting closely cropped details of a few pieces from the collection. In the hours leading up to the launch event on July 8th, behind-the-scenes images were shared, followed by images of the event and the collection being enjoyed and admired by those in attendance.

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In a world that is ever changing and uncertain… there is one thing that we can look to for comfort: beauty. And Paris delivered on this topic by way of last week’s Couture offerings. Dior was lovely (as usual) with its dipping in and out of centuries, while blending in modernity. Yet it was Elie Saab, Giambattista Valli, Ulyana Sergeenko and Valentino who drew in this curious mind. Below are a few of the highlights and of course all collections can be found at style.com.

Elie Saab
Dark decadence characterized Elie Saab’s chandelier lit world in hues of blues, pinks and blushes. Then came a sequence in black white and gray. In case you missed the memo, pearls are making a triumphant return as the “Queen of Gems” and Saab pays great homage to this noble affair through Tahitian treasures of all colors. At times, this beauty appeared be a burden to wear, with so much lavish embellishment.

Giambattista Valli
Eccentric glamour in the Gardens of Alhambra was at the heart of Giambattista Valli’s frenzy of frocks. It was a paradise of pajama pinstripes, reimagined pleats, feathered tulle, and ethereal floral loveliness. Recovering from a Champagne infused night was never so appealing.

Ulyana Sergeenko
There may have been an undercurrent of the upheaval in the Ukraine and reflections on the fall of the Russian Zsars in Ulyana Sergeenko’s collection, but there was a strong dynamism of sensual femininity meets fiery resolve. The most striking looks were those with shimmering fabrics that appeared wet and metallic, which were in stunning contrast to those soft mohair and lady-like silk offerings that were not always demure.

Valentino
Classic goddess splendor appropriately summarizes the incredibly alluring collection from Valentino. More specifically, it was inspired by the 19th century Pre-Raphaelite take on the Roman toga with flowing draperies, decadent embroideries, opulent pearls, and leather ribbon. There was a heavenly liberation at play that was absolutely romantic, while inviting temptation with sheers waiting to be undone.

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Among the dynamic videos from fashion and luxury brands in Q1, for me Mr. Porter steals the show.

While the intro could easily be compressed, the charm of “The Style Clinic Show” host, retro staging and format for featuring the looks are both entertaining, richly informative and wonderfully “shoppable”. The host cheekily narrates style variations on specific wardrobe needs, while the model rotates to capture the look from various angles. Also noteworthy is the 3-way cut of the frame, so that details of fabric and finishings are highlighted.

By contrast, the thing that challenges me most when viewing brand videos is dark lighting and immersive abstraction. While there is appreciation for conceptual, artistic nature of such things, often there is little attention shown on craft. There is a way to balance both while preserving those inspirational qualities that are innate to a brand’s narrative. Mr. Porter has executed this well in the past and continues to do so.

Finally, the series encourages engagement: if you are in need of style help, you can contact: styleclinic@mrporter.com or tweet: #styleclinic

Meantime, definitely do yourself a favor and take in the Mr. Porter charm.

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SautParis

“Always be yourself. Unless you can be a Unicorn.”

This simple thought has always charmed me and it came to mind this weekend, as I viewed the magical images of Saut Hermès on Instagram. Hermès has mastered the art of being itself and a unicorn!

Hermès, as a brand, is consistently genuine and true to their heritage, while infusing imagination, whimsy and grace in all things. The Saut Hermès riding exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris this weekend is just one of many meaningful brand experiences (and a top level show jumping competition) that is a magnificent example of this. Witnessing “Metamorphosis”, a choreography by Bartabas with the Equestrian Arts Academy of Versailles, would have been an exquisite wonder to behold as much as the competition itself.

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Back in October, the launch of artist Greg Lauren’s limited edition fragrance collaboration with Barney’s New York came across the radar. The custom embellishment of fabric, paper and paint is impressive in itself, but having seen the creative journey of the bottle in video “The Making of an Original” left a lasting impression of what bespoke means. Today a dear friend gifted me the fragrance. Beyond the incredibly special scent created with Master Perfumer Ralf Schweiger, I recalled the thought and artfulness that went into crafting something so beautifully memorable.

The limited-edition of 3,000 can be purchased at Barney’s New York.

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Discover a brilliant story about a man and his legacy revealed though rich narrative and dynamically animated historical visuals. This cleverly crafted video celebrates Harry Winston’s birthday and his sensational passion (and obsession) for diamonds.

Also worthy of note: on November 18th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Harry Winston’s donation of the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian, the world’s most famous gemstone was mounted in a new setting titled “Embracing Hope”.  A terrific documentary titled “Mystery of the Hope Diamond” on the Smithsonian Channel reveals the history, science, secrets and curse of this legendary blue diamond. 

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The runways of New York, London, Milan and Paris have been walked, leaving us breathless and inspired! We were taken on journeys around the world, through time and into altered realities. These are the collections that we will certainly be ready to wear, come fall…

Marchesa took us on a lavish Scottish adventure with glamorous variants on tartans and argyles in colors that awakened the senses.

Temperley London delivered demure offerings with a “funky”, yet elegant mix of floral prints, Byzantine patterns, quilted fabrics and layered draping.

Salvatore Ferragamo‘s inspired leather pieces, dipped in metallic paint, were beyond sensational, as well as a pair of fitted ribbed-knit dresses that appeared to be gilded in gold leaf.

Alberta Ferretti charmed us with her ethereal “metamorphosis of nature and woman”, presenting feather infused frocks and a fabulous parade of textured fabrics.

Iris Van Herpen seduced us with her vacuum-packed alien fashion titled “Biopiracy” and her emerging signature 3-D confections.

Lanvin was all graceful chic with Alber Elbaz’s “Triple X—Xtravagant, Xtreme, and Xperiment” vision. Hats trimmed or lined with marabou cast shadowy drama that enhanced the shimmering fabrics, furs and feathers of his glorious garments.

The entire collections can be viewed at Style.com

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jewels-by-jar-the-metFor just 3 more days, over 400 enchanting works by Joel A. Rosenthal currently grace the halls of the MET in New York City – and dazzle the eyes of many ladies. To say this exhibition is a rare delight is an understatement. His name is “whispered” among a select number of women who are passionate about high jewellery and the gentleman is known to shy from the spotlight. What the MET has done is curate JAR’s acclaimed work over the past three decades. His pieces are playful, intricately bejewelled flora, fauna and objets d’art that both drip with colour and flicker in even the lowest light. Unless you are among his few fortunate clients, this is truly a once in a lifetime experience to behold his masterful creations.

Deeper musings on JAR and the jewellers who inspired him can be found on the wonderful blog Jewels du Jour. Thank you Natalie!

Below are just a few of his breathtaking creations:

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Chanel Diamonds, SymbolsOfLiberty, Inside Chanel, Chanel and the Diamond, High Jewelry, Diamonds, Haute Jewellery, Exposition de Bijous de Diamants

“Are not the most beautiful things made to circulate?” These words were spoken by Coco Chanel in 1932, and like so many things she had a hand in creating, the sentiment is timeless. The video below is the 3rd of the “Inside Chanel” series titled “Chanel and the Diamond”. It speaks of not only the history of the importance diamonds play in fashion, but also the inspiration of the collection and sensation it caused… of course…

Brian Atwood, QR Code, Museum Experience, Zenith Lux, Encanta, 655 Madison Avenue, Mobile Media, In-StoreMore and more the mobile media experience is found in-store, enhancing the consumer experience on a number of levels. Notably, Brian Atwood has developed a very clever Museum Experience in his New York flagship store by way of QR codes. In one quick scan, consumers are directed to video content featuring Mr. Atwood as he describes the inspiration or design process behind a particular piece. This is less about e-commerce and more about telling a story and revealing craft. The video mimics the style of old movie projectors, with the intent to elevate the shoes and handbags to museum worthy “art” status. Further to this, any item purchased in-store will have a “655 Madison Avenue” plaque attached to it, adding to the exclusivity of the experience.

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