Couture and High Jewelry Still Go Together

Although many houses no longer peg their introductions to the show week in Paris, couture continues to influence designs.

As the ultimate expressions of French savoir-faire and creativity, couture and high jewelry go hand in hand.

More than a decade ago, high jewelry even helped save Couture Week. The fashion industry had been wondering whether couture could survive, given how few houses were staging runway shows. Then, in 2010, many of the most prominent jewelry houses agreed to a day of presentations, shoring up the week’s anemic calendar.

Fast-forward to today, and the wheel has turned: Couture is faring better than ever, with 29 houses on the official calendar in Paris last week. In contrast, jewelry houses including Van Cleef & Arpels, Chanel, and Bulgari opted to sit out this season, leaving just three presentations — Boucheron, Dior and Louis Vuitton — on the calendar organized by the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, the sector’s governing body. Some heritage brands, including Cartier, Chaumet and De Beers, did hold small satellite presentations, however.

The January couture does tend to be more subdued than the summer week, when clients flock to the French capital before dispersing to St. Tropez, Portofino and other Mediterranean resorts. But that is only part of the picture. “The top clients are so entertained by the couture houses, with shows, private events and visits of sought-after exhibitions, that competition is very intense for any other activity,” said Serge Carreira, a luxury expert and business lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris.

In that vein, high jewelry brands have been creating their own V.I.P. experiences, taking their gems on the road for multiday destination events in Greece (Louis Vuitton); Florence, Italy (Cartier); Venice (Van Cleef & Arpels); and Italy’s Lake Como and Shanghai (Dior).

For the houses displaying jewels in Paris last week, however, couture itself was a favorite theme.

SOURCE: New York Times

A diamond necklace from the Dior Délicat collection.
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