It’s Thursday evening, and Boucheron chief executive officer Jean-Christophe Bédos has just taken in the new “Désir” show, produced by theater group Spiegelworld, at South Street Seaport. “We use the word ‘enchanting’ a lot in the Boucheron vocabulary,” he said. “And there’s something so enchanting about the stage and cabaret.” The circus-cum-burlesque cabaret spectacle kicks off the Paris jeweler’s 150th anniversary celebrations here in the U.S. And while attendees might not exactly see the connection between “Désir” and the jewelry house, it’s there.
The butterfly dance by Raphaelle Boitel, for example, is meant to evoke the Countess di Castiglione’s descent into madness; Castiglione lived at Place Vendôme, the current home of the Boucheron headquarters. Even the cat that walks across a tightrope has its roots in the company’s history; it’s said that a black Persian cat named Vladimir once roamed its workshops. “People who know Boucheron’s story will see the connection,” said Bédos.
This story first appeared in the August 18, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The various performers also sport reproductions of the company designs, like the emerald tiara similar to the one owned by Queen Rania of Jordan and its signature gold mesh scarf. To hammer the inspiration point home, Boucheron has even built a traveling pop-up store, Boutique Désir, that will accompany the show’s tour through the U.S. (The shop already sold four of the $42,000 gold mesh scarves during the preview-run alone.)
But “Désir,” which runs through Nov. 2, is just one part of the company’s many anniversary events in the U.S. this year. Next month, the jeweler will open its first by-appointment-only salon in New York, on the 10th floor at the Hotel Plaza Athénée on 64th Street, which it will fete with a party during New York Fashion Week. “We wanted to offer a space for our more discreet clients,” said Bédos, adding that requests for bespoke and special-order pieces have increased recently.
At the same time, Boucheron is launching a U.S. e-commerce site and has plans to continue building on its distribution deal with Neiman Marcus, breaking into the Miami, Las Vegas and Chicago markets as “Désir” hits those cities on its tour. At the moment, only the retailer’s Los Angeles and Bal Harbour, Fla., outposts feature the collection.
Also new for September: a fragrance inspired by the firm’s Exquises Confidences gold and diamond collection, to be named B. And it’s no coincidence the perfume’s launch has been timed to coincide with the “Désir” run. “Jewelry is not just a visual thing,” Bédos said. “We want it to be experienced with a very sensual approach — it’s about emotion, touching and feeling.”