MILAN — It may have taken Jaeger-LeCoultre 175 years to tackle fine jewelry, but the prestige watchmaker believes it was worth the wait.
A handful of skilled craftsmen took two years to create a one-of-a-kind suite for the watchmaker, which was founded in 1833. Priced at $4.3 million, the four-piece suite, called Parure Extraordinaire Le Lierre, comprises a cuff watch, a necklace, earrings and a ring. The collection is an extension of two watch lines — Le Rose and Le Tulip.
“It’s something unique that derives from the capacity and creativity of five gem setters who have reached the highest level of mastery and were entirely dedicated to the project,” said Jerome Lambert, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s chief executive officer. “These jewels were a natural evolution of the watches.”
The suite was unveiled Sunday night during a dinner and runway show at the Venice Film Festival attended by Diane Kruger, the house’s muse.
Replicating nature, the intertwined ivy springs to life in graduating greens and pale yellows, courtesy of yellow sapphires, emeralds and tsavorites.
Based on a design by Giampiero Bodino, artistic director at parent company Compagnie Financière Richemont, a crop of artisans painstakingly embossed 12,000 stones weighing approximately 160 carats. Some are Lilliputian in size with a diameter of only half a millimeter, yet still are fully cut.
The necklace flaunts a flawless 5.19-carat yellow diamond with an oval cut, while a smaller 2.3-carat stone lights up the ring. The watch has a manually wound mechanism and features a black rhodium-plated 18-karat yellow gold case concealed beneath a leaf.
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia