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.
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.
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
For 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:
“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…
It is no great secret that image is everything – and that luxury brands must tell authentic stories that live and breathe in more meaningful and engaging mediums. Luxury footwear brand Tod’s has recently done just that through the release of a uniquely beautiful “book” of portraits that ventures deep into the heart of the brand itself by featuring what makes up Tod’s esteemed heritage: the elegant people and the captivating places of Italy… and it’s mobile. While it is a marketing tool showcasing personal fashion, it feels like an intimate, personal book of family portraits and experiences (both in still images as well as video). The premise behind the images of style and Italianeese as stated in the Info segment of the app: “At a time when a negative mood seems to reign in Italy, this volume offers a positive portrait of personalities and beautiful places, all diverse, all winners.” The BeautifulCurious criticism is that one obvious ingredient is missing: the very elegant Italian women who also enjoy Tod’s. “Italian Portraits” is available at the App Store and can be experienced on the Tod’s website.
Something otherworldly entered the stratosphere, by way of a certain Coco Chanel back in 1932. And for a very short time (and for a fortunate few) it can be observed in a transformed Chanel galaxy not far from the MoMA from October 9th – 16th. What is it you ask? It is the extraordinary 1932 Tribute Collection of high-jewelry, celebrating 80 years of Chanel history and commitment to the fine jewelry craft as an art form. Ms. Chanel’s first collection debuted during the depression on November 7, 1932 titled “Bijoux de Diamants” with the intent “to cover women in constellations.” And she does so still today with 80 exceptional pieces that dazzle in diamonds and platinum, bold and pearls, rock crystal and sapphires – it is a bespoke universe of beauty in small pocket of New York City. For those who did not receive their private invitation, you can get starry-eyed by way of those lovely folks at Gotham Magazine.
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…