It’s an audacious undertaking to launch a couture collection — and in the middle of the Cannes Film Festival no less. But Chopard copresident and creative director Caroline Scheufele took it up a notch this year, debuting 50 looks on the runway in the Hôtel Martinez ballroom.
Scheufele enlisted a star-studded roster of her longtime friends for the catwalk including Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Eva Herzigova, Petra Nemcová and Natalia Vodianova — a glamorous group Scheufele considers “family” — taking to the stage.
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Perhaps the biggest star of the night was a four-legged friend. “Byron was the finale of the show! So I got to close out the show with Naomi and my dear Byron. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Scheufele of her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, who made his runway debut.
Kate Beckinsale, Poppy Delevingne, Ashley Graham, Charles Melton and Song Kang-ho were among the guests, alongside Karina, Giselle, Winter and NingNing from K-pop group Aespa, the house’s new ambassadors.
The idea came about during last year’s Venice Film Festival, when she wore a custom gown designed to highlight her jewels. Scheufele and the creative team set out to build a collection that embodied the spirit of the jewelry house with glamorous gowns, party dresses and sharp suits for the red carpet.
Twenty silhouettes are designed to be foundations of the collection, available on order at any time. New pieces will be introduced with each show, envisioned to take place once a year in Cannes going forward.
“Cannes is always such a special moment for us. Because of Chopard’s love for the cinema, we have some of our biggest moments of the year at the festival. Annually, we debut our Red Carpet Collection featuring our latest Haute Joaillerie creations here, and now it will be a moment for us to debut new couture creations, too,” Scheufele told WWD.
The foundation pieces are clean silhouettes in structural columns or sweetheart necklines, shown here in emerald velvet, but easily reimagined in other textiles. Patterns from the jewelry pieces, such as flowers or the house signature hearts, are woven throughout the collection in the custom silk jacquards, embroidery and beading as subtle nods to each season. Scheufele enlisted a creative team with decades of experience at houses such as Azzedine Alaïa, ateliers that work with Chanel and Hermès, and textiles form the maisons of Jakob Schlaepfer and Gentili Mosconi.
Standout pieces were a silver gown embroidered with art deco motifs which took more than 2,000 hours to create. The pattern was also recreated in a skirt topped with a plain white button down, for a relaxed chic look. Each look was paired with stunning jewels. A dramatic ruby red gown was topped with a dainty drop necklace, for example, to balance out the volume.
“A lot of the collection was designed with the idea of matching specific types of jewels — from the jewel tone of an outfit to patterns that would complement specific designs and cuts of stones,” said Scheufele, who paired the couture and jewelry to work together.
The foundation pieces are designed not to take away the focus from the jewels, while the showier pieces are seasonal. Scheufele hopes to carve out a unique space that straddles jewelry and fashion with the collection, and will utilize the house’s relationships with ambassadors and actresses that wear the gems at premieres to get the gowns on the red carpet.
In keeping with the theme, the room was drenched in red, which gave it a romantic and mysterious aura. Scheufele took in the whole thing from the front row, flanked by British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, before taking a bow on the runway with her canine sidekick.
Byron might have closed the fashion show — and proved to be a tough act to follow — but Robbie Williams later took to the stage for a surprise performance of his greatest hits.
Launch Gallery: A Look at Chopard’s Debut Collection of ‘Caroline’s Couture’
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