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.
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
This curation is one of opposites. A collection offering something innocent and fresh with something that is far less so: Giambattista Valli and Saint Laurent Paris. Mr. Valli crafted a series feminine looks with sheer organza, delicate floral details and crystal beading that would make Flora swoon. He also created some severely tailored offerings that counter these ladylike ones, but the most memorable pieces are the sheer dresses or skirts over panties – particularly those with a dropped hem made of non-sheer fabrics. At Saint Laurent the mood shifted to something hard and slightly subversive. The presentation was a paired down, urban goth collection that was quite stunning, despite Hedi Slimane’s overly done antics. At times the hats seemed an unfortunate accessory that transformed otherwise glamourous, flowing dresses into something a bohemian sorceress might wear. It is a shame the garments have nearly been over trumped by so much drama and this curious mind wonders what will become of the YSL legacy…
How wonderful it is to be back in Paris – and what a beautiful welcome it is with the likes of Lanvin and Nina Ricci to fill the fashion soul. It is appropriate to begin with Alber Elbaz, as the Lanvin collection was about “a new start” for him. And that meant going back to the classic beauty of ancient Greece and Rome to present this work of “deconstructed classicism” that had a great purity and glamourous elegance. The asymmetrical garments with the orgami-like belts and bow accents easily make the BeautifulCurious most desired list. Peter Copping is also interested in ties that bind, albeit from a refined dominatrix angle. His offerings are a curious contradiction: do leather bondage harnesses go with demure dresses, cardigans and skirts? Oui, bien sur! Each of the looks have quality and depth that suggests things are nowhere near what they seem. Is she naughty, nice or both? He took a risk with this collection and it is one that is unforgettable.
What is modern minimalism in Milan? Maurizio Pecoraro has a few ideas and has literally made art of them with the help of a few well curated friends: Irving Penn, Mark Rothko, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Lee Ufan. His garmets may seem ultra paired down to basic shapes and forms, but there is a deep intellectual sensuality at play. Particularly in the evening tanks, skirts and dresses that resemble single elongated petals loosely enveloping the wearer as they drip with sequins. It is this fresh, yet smouldering wetness that makes this minimalism, well, so much more…
Ciao Milan! On the heels of so much fashion travel (over land and through time), Alberta Ferretti offers a welcomed invitation to dip our toes into an aquatic world of ethereal femininity. Her collection inspired by the watery underworld is profoundly beautiful with illusions of iridescent anemones, lace seaweed, and other delicate sea creatures – all of which seem unaware they are made of fabric and swim through air as if it were liquid. It is exactly this quality that gives merit to showcasing this collection in abundance. Most remarkable are those looks layering sheer organza over beaded or embroidered fabrics. Without doubt, Ferretti’s luminous garments would leave even the most potent Siren of the sea breathless.
For a final look at London Fashion Week, BeautifulCurious presents a varied curation of floral and fauna, aliens, and a global sensation. We start with Mulberry who went to the rural English countryside with their Winsor and Newton water colors and brought back some shimmery floral (and playful gecko) prints for the catwalk – and a black poodle for good measure. Given the remarkable invitation for the show, this curious mind envisioned garments of a less heavy nature and more viscous fabrics. Still, Mulberry delivered on their theme, as the lovely colors stole the show. Color played a significant role in a very different way at Erdum. The collection was based on humanoid extraterrestrial refugees out of Zenna Henderson’s sci-fi novels and maintained an intriguing tension of “uncomfortable color combinations” and material mind tricks, such as python pretending to be silk. There were many sci-fi infused collections this season, but this one stands apart with it’s prim 1950’s kitch and intellectual prowess. A final, much deserved mention must go to Burberry Prorsum. Just prior to the show, Christopher Bailey declared to the team “People are stopping work to watch… You’ve got to give them a good reason.” And reason they did in a flurry of corsets and capes and marvelous metallics that truly conveyed “a very British glamour”, not just on the runway, but in digital live stream at the recently opened flagship on Regent street and globally on the web. What a luxury indeed to be dressed, entertained and escape with Burberry. Thank you for all of it, London.
The past, the present and the future – all are covered in the short distance of a London runway. For his collection, David Koma chose to channel tennis’ classic past with a mesmerizing combination of graphic tennis net patterns, playful sheers, and a striking color pallet of white or black with bold orange, green or blue. Sports have rarely been this luxurious or this sexy. Presently, Matthew Williamson celebrates his 15th anniversary and crafted a collection with a nod to his past: his inaugural “Electric Angels”. His signature saturated palette and penchant for embellishment this season was inspired by the Holi Festival in India, where brightly colored powder is enthusiastically tossed among merrymakers. His silk prints directly reflect this revelry as well as epic landscapes, printed from Williamson’s own personal photographs of Kerala and Tibet. Mr. Williamson also premiered his first shoe collection. Dion Lee presented his second London collection which is nothing short of a futuristic sci-fi journey. Garments are engineered with three-dimensional printing techniques involving geothermal mapping, body hot zone abstraction, and some well placed slashing and folding. Sometimes knowing less is more, but the overall effect is a wonderously strange, technical beauty that is out of this world.
It is a beautiful, melancholy beginning to London Fashion Week with 3 talents to thank for this. On a first note, from a collective inspiration of Heart of Darkeness, Apocalypse Now and the artist Peter Beard, comes a diligent series of impeccably tailored offerings by Todd Lynn. The most notable are his colorfully printed silk pieces, so marvelously decorated by the hands of artist Marcus James. Here exists a captivating tension between the organic washes and the severe silhouettes – they simply smolder with beauty. There were also dark undertones mingling in the romance-gone-wrong theme of John Rocha‘s collection. The location of a glass chapel he is designing in the Château la Coste in the south of France inspired his color palette. Despite the bursts of red, yellow and pink, there was an emotive sense of shattered gloom that is alluring in the crushed silks, layered sheers and veiled lace looks. Finally, there was nothing disappointing in Mary Katrantzou‘s blend of melancholy. Her signature prints referenced stamps and banknotes of past – and possibly lost – cultures and values. Her constructions in this collection appear far less complex in a more paired down, direct marriage of print and form. The prints shimmer, the fabrics flow and the shapes billow with a luminosity that only Mary can procure. And it’s so money…