Apart from being graceful and feminine, the 2016 Red Carpet Collection from the Swiss-based jewellery and luxury watches brand Chopard introduces an innovative way of using titanium, allowing artisans to create even more whimsical finishes and colours.
“But the real inspirations for this collection are the big, unique gemstones themselves,” shares Caroline Scheufele, Co-President and Artistic Director of Chopard. “You have a big emerald and you work around it to make it look even more beautiful.” Of course, the collection is primarily about the leading ladies who wear them at the Cannes. “Obviously, Julia Roberts doesn’t have the same taste as Marion Cotillard. So we cater to the different characters and sense of styles of these ladies,” adds Scheufele.
You’ve been in the industry for a long time now, how does the way women wear jewellery today differ compared to say, 10 years ago?
Nowadays, the way women wear jewellery is much less traditional. They wear a lot of sautoirs, and not just the traditional necklaces. There are a lot of long necklaces, multi-functional pieces. Women also tend to mix materials. For example, before, they would only wear all-yellow gold. They would not mix yellow gold with white gold and pink gold.
Please tell us about about the first collection you’ve ever designed.
My very first design was the Happy Diamond Clown. I was 16 years old at that time; I was still in school. I didn’t think much about it — I was just doodling around because there was always design, painting, and sculpturing going on around me. Obviously it was an important little design because it was the start of all jewellery collections at Chopard. Since then I’ve gone a long way, I think.
Where do you look for inspiration when designing?
It always starts with the paper and pencil. That’s the definitely the process. I would have an idea and then I would start sketching. I would put it aside and come back to it. It evolves depending on my mood.
Last year, for the Festival’s 69th anniversary, you have dressed several Hollywood celebrities at the Cannes. Who is your particular favourite?
Last year, I was very proud that finally we could dress Julia Roberts. She’s never been in Cannes before because she never had a movie in Cannes before. So that was a big moment for us. Especially that part where she walked barefoot on the red carpet, saying, “I don’t need anything. Just the emerald.” That was pretty cool.
Within the Red Carpet collection, you’ve created the Green Carpet range. Please share with us a little bit of your journey and vision for sustainable luxury.
Luxury should be sustainable in general. I think we should all be sensitive about how things are produced, how things are made. It’s the consumers’ right to know how the product is produced. And if you have a choice, you will always go for something green.
The first pieces were always the first steps to change the production. Now we have two productions. First the classic way because obviously we don’t have enough gold to make everything yet fairmined. There is no enough mines that have been certified, but there’s new addition every year. Since the first year, we had 80 kilos. Now we have 250 kilos, and hopefully there will be more. The vision is that in the next three to four years, all our high jewellery will be in fairmined gold.
What were the challenges you encountered when you started producing sustainable high jewellery?
I think the challenge was to really convince all ateliers in the production that we are going to do it, because they are going to work differently. But we have managed — it is feasible. So I hope we’re not gonna be the only company who is going forward with that. Hopefully there will be others who will follow.
What do you look for when selecting jewellery for personal use?
It depends very much on my mood, how and what I feel that day. How I dress and where I’m going.
What is the one jewellery piece you can’t live without?
I have a new favourite vintage watch. I also have a few that I always carry with me. I always have the Happy Sport with me. I always have a pair of studs with me. I always have this little For You piece with the little hearts — I’m in love with the bangles.
What is your take on buying jewellery online?
I don’t buy jewellery online. I think pieces that are known can be bought online. But I don’t advise it for iconic pieces. I don’t think somebody buys a 20ct diamond online. You need to check the certificate, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Personally, I buy products online, like books, music, maybe shoes that I couldn’t find in my size. But I think high jewellery is something that people have to see and touch and feel. You also have to trust your seller. You have to trust the House that you go to.
Please share with us your normal typical day.
There is no typical day for me (laughs). For a relaxing weekend — I am dreaming of it. A relaxing weekend for me would be in Geneva at home, or in Paris at home. I’d sleep until I wake up. Catch up some sleep. Get breakfast, then go back to bed and read something or even watch a movie. Go out with my dogs if it’s nice outside. Do a bit of sports if I feel like it. See some friends. Cook. I like cooking.
For everyday wear, what is your preference in jewellery?
Bangles. Sautoirs. I always play with them — I wear them long or short.
What does trend mean to you? What are the jewellery trends you see right now?
I think the trend today is mixing and matching jewellery, which is not done in the past. Before, you would only wear either all pearl, or all diamonds. You never mix them. You never wear different coloured gold or semi-precious gemstones with precious gemstones. We were the first company to launch steel with diamonds with the Happy Sport watch. That didn’t exist before. And now, coloured titanium is something new. The jewellery market has become more democratic in a way.
Any advice for customers who are buying Chopard jewellery for the first time?
A little Happy Diamonds piece is always good to have.
Interview assisted by Syahmin Ritzwan
All images courtesy of Chopard, unless stated otherwise.