NEW YORK — Louis Vuitton is expanding its reach in the fine jewelry market with a new collection called Emprise.
Emprise, which features both jewelry and watches, takes inspiration from the brand’s heritage, specifically the iconic monogrammed trunk.
Hamdi Chatti, Vuitton’s senior vice president of watches and jewelry, said the idea was to take the essence of the trunk and “design it through a watch and a whole collection of jewelry.”
Rather than wait for Paris couture appointments at the end of January, when the company typically unveils new jewelry pieces, the collection was introduced during New York pre-fall appointments.
“We believe that [the collection] is designed for an American customer and for New Yorkers,” said Chatti. “It started from the idea of a mighty woman.”
At the center of Emprise are four square-faced watches with satin or leather straps, some embossed with a grosgrain ribbon pattern. The designs are offered in both steel and gold, some with diamond embellishment.
Both models reflect distinct elements of the Louis Vuitton trunk, including corner caps and notches that imitate nail studs. The steel models feature a dial decorated to mimic the lines of Parisian wood paneling, while the gold styles have a quilted face to reflect the protective padding within a trunk.
“The purpose of the trunk is to protect your stuff,” Chatti said. “The purpose of the watch is to protect your time.”
The protective aspect translates to the collection’s jeweled offerings as well. Gemstones, including amethyst, citrine, tourmaline and morganite, sit as pendants on long chains within cagelike settings that are individually crafted to perfectly encase each unique stone.
“Our trunks are custom-made for each customer,” said Chatti. “We want it to be the same idea for jewelry.”
Similarly set rings and earrings act as companion pieces to the necklaces, all with a strong emphasis on cut. “We want a perfect cut,” Chatti said. “We believe in symmetry.”
Each design is digitally customized and then cut by hand at the house’s French atelier.
Rounding out the Emprise offerings are a handful of simpler pieces, including rings, bangles, earrings and pendants in diamonds, and yellow and white gold. Details of nail-like studding, seen in the watches and gemstone designs, also subtly tie back to the trunk motif.
For the jewelry, retail prices range from approximately $1,000 for a white gold ring to $150,000 for a white gold and diamond pendant necklace with a 28.08-carat aquamarine stone. The watches start at $8,750 for the steel and white diamond-studded watch in calfskin and reach $19,900 for a yellow gold version with diamonds and a silver opalescent dial.
“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
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
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Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast