A curiously abstract future has been germinating among French luxury brands and institutions of Comité Colbert through a series of cryptic social media posts. It is “a utopia created by french luxury” called “Dreaming 2074”, culminating in a collection of science-fiction short stories, new vocabulary and music, which can be downloaded at www.dreaming2074.com
To back up a few steps, Comité Colbert, founded in 1954 by Jean-Jacques Guerlain, is an organization made up of 78 luxury houses and 14 cultural institutions in France to promote the concept of French luxury. Brands such as Cartier, Mellerio dits Meller, Veuve Clicquot, Lanvin, Givenchy, Guerlain and the Louvre (just to name a few) were part of this collaboration. The essence of the collective project “Rêver2074” (Dream2074) is designed to share, preserve and celebrate 60 years of French luxury and heritage… and live into and lead an inspiring future.
Next Wednesday we will launch our series titled “The Weekly Bauble“. It is a collection of beautiful jewels that we know and admire. We will share details about the jewel, the inspiration behind the bauble and the extraordinary jeweler who created it.
Stay tuned, and let the bauble adventures begin….
Every established jewelry house has a wonderfully rich history – and with that, significant signature motifs in the form of an animal, flower or inanimate objects. Among such icons is the Panthère Collection of Cartier. Since August 20th, we have been treated to an alphabetical, timeless treasury called The History of the Panthère. On the Cartier website, we see a rolling history of jewelry and small objects from A – Z, followed by a video, which brings to life this incredible heritage in a memorable, accessible way. On Facebook, the alphabet unfolds with reference to a single word or phrase, heritage piece and a visual of its historical context. For good measure, there is the occasional short video clip, featuring a tight, glittering shot of a particular jewel. The viewer is also invited to experience the “A-Z tour” on the Cartier website to discover more. On Instagram, it seems an opportunity was missed to incorporate the “A-Z tour” along the same lines as Facebook, although the short videos are present.
This inspiring initiative is a brilliant way to share the wonderful heritage of Cartier, while educating young consumers about important pieces and small objects, specific to the Panthère Collection.
High 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet: #styleclinic
Meantime, definitely do yourself a favor and take in the Mr. Porter charm.
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.