When Chopard pairs jewels with couture

On 22 May, Caroline Scheufele, the co-president and artistic director of Chopard, presented her Red Carpet high jewellery collection, sublimated by 77 outfits created for the occasion: her second Caroline’s Couture collection. Isabelle Cerboneschi

‘The Red Carpet 2024 collection is called Fairy Tales because we all need to dream,’ explained Caroline Scheufele, co-president and artistic director of Chopard, as she unveiled a few jewels from the high jewellery collection destined to be unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival.

Last April, Chopard invited a selection of journalists to the Manufacture to show them the first pieces from the Red Carpet high jewellery collection to be presented at Cannes on 22 May. “This is our 27th Cannes Film Festival, the 77th edition, and we are going to create 77 pieces this year. 7 is my lucky number. I’m not attracted to easy things, so every year we add a piece to the Red Carpet collection. This collection takes me back to my beginnings, to the creation of my first piece of jewellery for Chopard, which was an articulated clown. From then on, my life changed in a magical way”, Caroline Scheufele continues.

The jewels in the collection do not evoke specific tales, but rather a fairytale world, such as this cocktail ring adorned with a 17.71-carat rubellite guarded by two frogs with a titanium body set with a pear-cut emerald, this sautoir in which an enchanted rose made of rubellites, tsavorites and coloured diamonds is set in a rock crystal, or this ethical gold necklace with oak tree motifs discovered in the workshops. Not forgetting a delicate tiara featuring over 30 carats of brilliants and pear-cut diamonds, topped by a fairy with mother-of-pearl wings that can be detached and worn as a brooch, perfect for a fairytale princess. We had already made tiaras to order, or necklaces that could be worn upside down, like tiaras, but never for the Red Carpet collection,’ explains Caroline Scheufele. For me, a fairytale can’t be complete without a princess, and she has to wear a tiara. Tiaras, like brooches, were forgotten in the past and are now making a comeback in the world of jewellery. In fact, a lot of men today ask us for brooches.”

The collection was unveiled on 22 May to a select audience during a show held at the Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc in Antibes. It was a double success for Caroline Scheufele, who also presented her second Caroline’s Couture collection: 77 outfits specially created to showcase 77 pieces of haute joaillerie. The co-president and director of Chopard had already presented her first couture collection last year. What made her want to do it again? “The unexpected success of this first collection! It overwhelmed us. Just after the show, customers wanted to buy outfits, but we didn’t have a fitting room, no one to take measurements and we hadn’t set the prices (laughs). It was quite folkloric,’ she confides.

Having long presented her haute joaillerie collections on models dressed by the great names of couture and haute couture, the co-president realised that her creations were not always in perfect harmony with theirs. “Their dresses are magnificent but very ornate, and the embroidery on the neckline, for example, sometimes competed with our jewellery. One of our necklaces is worth at least ten times as much as a designer garment, but it was drowned out by the embellishments. So I had the idea of creating a collection that would both showcase our jewellery and highlight the woman who wears it. I wanted to take on a new challenge: to get out of my comfort zone, to extend the Chopard universe to include couture, to develop fabrics in shades that reflect those of the precious stones in our jewellery, to work with craftsmen as excellent as our own, and to imagine dresses and models that are perfectly consistent with my high jewellery collections,’ she explains.

Although Caroline Scheufele has been creating jewellery for decades, she knows that you don’t just become a fashion designer. To put her desires on paper and then turn them into fabrics, she chose to work with designer Fridtjof Linde, to whom she had already entrusted the creation of her own dresses in the past. ‘I liked his personality, his vision of fashion and his love of detail, which is in synergy with our vision of jewellery and watchmaking,’ she explains.

For this second collection, certain fabrics have been specially developed in workshops in Italy, at Gentili Mosconi, as well as at the famous St. Gallen textile and embroidery manufacturer Jakob Schlaepfer, who works with the biggest names in couture. The embroideries were made in India, at the Kalhath Institute, ‘a place where the ancestral skills of Indian embroidery are passed on and where embroidery craftsmen are trained and paid their fair share’, Caroline Scheufele points out. As for the delicate butterflies that dot certain outfits and the intensely poetic hats created by Philip Treacy, they were embroidered by the Miao ethnic group in China. “When I saw their embroidery, I was speechless: they are works of art! I want to promote expertise from all over the world”, she continues.

The collection is punctuated by a few masculine looks created in the workshops of tailor Cifonelli in Paris. “The request came from a jewellery customer who asked me: when are you going to create outfits for us? And he wasn’t the only one”, says the co-president of Chopard. Her friend, supermodel Eva Herzigova, brought the show to a close, wearing a strapless gown and a necklace set with an exquisite yellow diamond.

These are very difficult times,’ says Caroline Scheufele, ’I don’t want to watch the news in the morning any more, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to create what I do. The world has become aggressive and bitter. What can I do? This collection is my answer: make people dream and continue to love life.