Since 1998, Chopard has been closely associated with Cannes Film Festival. The Swiss watch and jewellery manufacturer is the official red-carpet jeweller of the highly sought-after international film festival and the sponsors and makers of Palme d’Or, the most coveted award of the event.
This year, the exquisite, leaf-shaped trophy was won by Titane, an outlandish film packed full of sex and violence. Its director Julie Ducournau became the second woman to receive the award at the festival.
Like every year, Caroline Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, designed this year’s Red Carpet collection as well. The 74 pieces, paying tribute to the 74th year of Cannes Film Festival are inspired by the theme of ‘Paradise’ and adorned with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies and coloured stones set in gold and crafted into shapes of delightful, mystical creatures and verdant flora.
LuxeBook talks to Caroline Scheufele about the maison’s association with Cannes, the excitement of attending a physical event after Covid-19 led lockdowns, and the business of collaboration and sustainability.
When and how did the association between the Cannes Film Festival and
I’ve always loved going to the cinema; the beauty of movies, whether they’re romantic, scary or educational is that they take you into another world for two hours. I think that’s what initially led me to Cannes. The story began in 1997, during a meeting with Pierre Viot (then President of Cannes Festival), and he invited me to redesign the Palme d’or for the 50th anniversary.
Every year since Chopard has been the festival’s official partner and the Palme d’or purveyor. In 1998, five of our Chopard expert artisans devoted no less than 40 hours to handcrafting the festival’s most coveted treasure in our Geneva workshop.
The Palme d’or is definitely treated as an Haute Joaillerie piece, both, in its design and craftsmanship. The year 2017 marked the 70th anniversary of the festival, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of its association with Chopard. To commemorate both events, the maison added an extra special string of diamonds to the Palme d’or, awarded that year to the Swedish film, The Square.
How does this collaboration help Chopard’s business?
Cannes offers a world of fascination and many unique opportunities for our maison. The festival’s international media coverage is huge. Every day, people from all over the world watch or see pictures of beautiful and talented cinema celebrities walk the red carpet. There are always exceptional moments. Like when (in 2016) Julia Roberts appeared wearing a long off-shoulder gown, a gorgeous Chopard emerald necklace and walked on the red carpet barefoot.
It is also a fantastic communication platform, allowing us to send out a message that is perfectly in-sync with our maison’s values and DNA.
How do collaborations such as this help the high horology and jewellery industry?
We recognise the importance of using our voice during such a prestigious worldwide event to raise awareness about some of the major issues in the luxury jewellery and watchmaking industry to create positive change. Sustainability is one of them.
In 2013, we launched our ‘Journey to Sustainable Luxury’ in Cannes. Our maison has hosted panel discussions with industry leaders to discuss sustainability, including how to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals into business strategy, how to achieve increased transparency in supply chains, how to raise customer awareness and how to achieve sustainable mining practices.
How excited were you to attend a physical event after months of lockdown?
Last year was an example of the true spirit of perseverance and believing in a positive future. I think we all yearned for the joy of sharing special moments with others. And this year, we will celebrate the
human interaction, even more than before. The glamour is back in Cannes and so is the jubilation of sharing the passion for cinema. I’m very happy and grateful for that.
How is the high horology and jewellery industry faring currently?
Fine jewellery and high-end timepieces play a significant role in the global luxury sector. These industries not only contribute to the economy but also represent significant cultural assets. Obviously, the shutting down of retail and tourism due to Covid-19 created much uncertainty and short-circuited demand. The sudden halt in worldwide travel strongly impacted fine jewellery and luxury watch purchases. However, the market has proved very resilient, bouncing back in different countries soon after the lockdowns ended. The future is definitely bright.
What are top high horology and jewellery trends today?
The post-covid era has witnessed two key trends in the watch and jewellery market. On the one hand, consumers are returning to the “icons”, the emblematic, timeless creations that are expressions of a maison’s DNA, such as our Happy Diamonds jewellery or Happy Sport watches. On the other hand, we see a growing demand for exceptional high jewellery and high watchmaking. The trend is driven by a passionate and discerning affluent clientele looking for exquisite unique pieces and gemstones. Also, the post-pandemic market has seen a shift in client perception regarding quality and there has been a rise in conscious consumption with sustainability at its very core. This is something we are proud to say we anticipated and actively supported at Chopard.
What are Chopard’s short-term and long-term plans?
This year is particularly rich in exciting milestones. The re-opening of the Cannes Festival, of course, but also the 25th anniversary of our fully integrated Watchmaking Manufacture – a project imagined and orchestrated by my brother and Co-President of Chopard, Karl-Friedrich.
As for the long term, we continue our ‘Journey to Sustainable Luxury’, initiated in 2013. We have achieved some significant goals since we started. All of our gold is ethically sourced since 2018.
This gold is responsibly sourced from traceable routes such as artisanal freshly mined gold from small-scale mines participating in the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), Fairmined and Fairtrade schemes, RJC (Responsible Jewellery Council) Chain of Custody gold through Chopard’s partnership with RJC-certified refineries.
As for the sourcing of gemstones, we are certified with the RJC. We adhere to the Kimberley Process (A certification scheme is a process established in 2003 to prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough diamond market by the United Nations General Assembly) and System of Warranties (It requires all diamond suppliers and diamond jewellery manufacturers to pass on a warranty statement each time diamond goods change hands, assuring the next buyer the diamonds originated within the Kimberley Process system) for all our diamonds.
Regarding coloured stones, we reached a new milestone this year by collaborating with the Coloured Gemstones Working Group. We have joined the platform along with some other prestigious watch and jewellery maisons with the aim of supporting the transparency of the precious-coloured stones circuit.
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