CANNES, France — “We’re always trying to cater to people on the red carpet, but this is hard-core red carpet, her point of view,” said Nadja Swarovski at a preview on Thursday of a new “conscious luxury”-oriented Atelier Swarovski fine-jewelry line designed in collaboration with Penélope Cruz.
Seated at a lunch at the Terrasse & Club by Albane on the rooftop of the JW Marriott hotel, the table sprinkled with crystals, the Spanish actress was modeling a pair of created sapphire drop earrings, and has already road-tested most of the seven pieces that are ready. That includes on the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival, as the leading lady of the night’s in-competition opening film Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows.” The actress there accessorized her vintage Chanel Couture gown with a ring and matching pair of earrings made from Fair Trade gold and Swarovski Created diamonds and rubies.
Chatting to WWD, the actress said she loves how Cannes “manages to be the most serious, respected cinema festival in the world, and at the same time be crazy and glamorous. It’s like being in [Federico] Fellini’s film ‘8½.’ All day long you feel like you’re inside Fellini’s world,” she said.
Discussing the collection, “I love the color of rubies and garnets,” said the fiery actress adding that she is in talks with Atelier Swarovski to re-create a garnet ring once given to her by her grandmother that has gone missing.
The full Atelier Swarovski by Penélope Cruz collection will be presented during Paris Couture Week in July. Its key ingredients are Swarovski Created Diamonds, Swarovski Genuine Topaz from traceable sources in Brazil, Tanzania and Sri Lanka; created gemstones and 18-carat Fair Trade gold.
Swarovski Created Diamonds and created gemstones are man-made using innovative methods in state-of-the-art laboratories.
The sustainable angle is what drew Cruz to the project.
“What is really revolutionary is the way that these stones are created, with this magic machine – I think they have it in Los Angeles – I cannot wait to see how that works. There is no other way to live your life right now, one has to question what kind of world we are living in for future generations,” said Cruz. “Every day I think about what I can do, with my little grain of sand, to make the planet a healthier place.”
Swarovski, the great-great granddaughter of the company’s founder Daniel Swarovski, said she traveled to see Cruz in Madrid where she was filming “Everybody Knows” to look at mood boards together. The house had worked with the actress at the Venice Film Festival, and Cruz had expressed her interest in working on a project after reading their sustainability report, Swarovski said.
When Cruz learned she was to open Cannes, it made sense to unveil some of the first pieces there. The media rollout has proven powerful as the crystal giant looks to establish itself in the fine jewelry domain.
The Atelier Swarovski fine-jewelry line is based on a combination of lab-grown created diamonds and sustainably sourced gemstones.
“It’s a must, it should be a requirement for companies to be more sustainable,” said Swarovski. “Right now, we have the luxury to be able ignore issues, but the time will come when we just can’t.”
The company is looking into how to delineate the Cruz collection and “make the pieces available also to Cruz’s fans” with a more simplified spin-off as well as a crystal collection based on the line, she explained.
Crystal is the house’s DNA as Daniel Swarovski’s ultimate invention in 1895, but “The ambition is to grow Atelier Swarovski from the couture Swarovski jewelry brand into a relevant brand within the fine-jewelry industry,” Swarovski said.
“We’re positioning ourselves as master cutters,” she added explaining that the company has actually had a gem stone division since the Sixties. “We can cut crystal, diamonds, cubic zirconia, created diamonds, you name it. It’s so legitimate for us to claim that arena.”