It’s not just movie stars that shine on the red carpet. Every year, dazzling jewellery makes a huge impact on the Cannes Film Festival and the town itself. We take a look at the relationship between the event and the gems, the high and fine jewellery labels the biggest celebrities are wearing, and the enduring glamour of the French Riviera
Once a year, in May, the glittering appearance of boulevard de la Croisette gains a little added lustre thanks to the Cannes Film Festival. The movies are often groundbreaking, the ballgowns elegant and the parties fabulous, but one striking detail is particularly hard to miss: the gems.
The Riviera and fine jewellery are inextricably linked
The Riviera and fine jewellery are inextricably linked. If it’s not the festival, it’s the European glitterati sunning themselves at Le Club 55 with baguettes dangling from their ears or trying their luck at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, fingers sparkling with gems. What is it about the unbridled glamour of the south of France that attracts these glittering jewels and the brands who create them?
One brand that is closely linked to the festival, as well as to Cannes itself, is Chopard. Since 1998, it has been one of the event’s official partners, an alliance initiated by Caroline Scheufele, who as Chopard’s artistic director and co-president has helped turn it into the global fine jewellery and watch brand that it is today.
As well as hosting many lavish parties during the event each year, the brand also redesigned the Palme d’Or trophy (awarded to the winning film at the festival) to mark the beginning of the partnership, and since 2001 has sponsored its own Trophée Chopard, which is given to two talented young actors each year. A special edition of the Palme d’Or embossed with diamonds was also created last year to mark the 70th anniversary of the festival.
However, it’s not just golden trophies that the brand provides for the event. Every year, dozens of high-profile stars are adorned with some of Chopard’s most spectacular high-jewellery creations. Lasting collaborations with celebrities such as Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Marion Cotillard and Catherine Deneuve have come to define the brand, and in recent years a special collection with Rihanna has also brought the world of music into Chopard’s circle.
Since 2013 the brand has worked with Livia Firth on the Green Carpet Collection, producing sustainable fine jewellery pieces using Fairmined gold and ethically sourced diamonds; in 2014 came the first Palme d’Or trophy created using traceable metals supporting both people and the environment.
Last year also marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Chopard boutique on boulevard de la Croisette. Those visiting for the festival and throughout the year are offered the opportunity to soak up a little of that Riviera glitter, with special-edition pieces for the festival and themed window displays making the special relationship between the two institutions clear.
Boucheron, a historic house whose roots lie in 19th-century Paris, has also been making a considerable contribution to the Cannes jewellery scene for many years. At the 2017 festival, Boucheron’s high jewellery collection was seen on the likes of Uma Thurman and Coco Rocha, whose sparkling red-carpet appearances showed them to be fitting ambassadors for this elegant brand.
As with many other jewellers, each year during the festival Boucheron creates a suite that celebrity brand ambassadors and their stylists can visit ahead of the glamour-filled evenings to select the perfect piece to dazzle in. Its La Croisette boutique specialises in high jewellery, as well as selling the brand’s other lines, so is just the place to visit if you’re in the market for all-out glamour. The space has recently undergone renovation and reopened in April of this year looking more inviting than ever. The iconic Serpent Bohème collection, reimagined in striking red garnet and green malachite for 2018, is bound to be a hit in Cannes and beyond.
While some brands continue to strengthen relationships with stars with whom they have worked for years, others are aiming for a new wave of celebrities. Bulgari, once synonymous with Italian stars such as Sophia Loren and Carla Bruni, looked to the likes of Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Lottie Moss to act as 2017’s ambassadors.
The jewels worn by the younger starlets, while still bearing the hallmarks of Bulgari’s colourful style, were worn in an entirely modern way. Statement necklaces were chosen over dramatic earrings and were paired with sleek up-dos and minimal make-up, truly making a case for high jewellery for a 21st-century market.
So why is it that the worlds of film, fine jewellery and the French Riviera go hand in hand? It all comes back to one word: glamour. There is no place in the world that seems more suited to jewels of this magnificence. The extra glitz of the film festival acts as the perfect advertisement for both the area and the jewels themselves. Boutiques up and down boulevard de la Croisette continue to thrive thanks to the success that the festival brings. After all, who doesn’t want a little more glamour in their lives?