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Glitter and gold of the red carpet

“I often say that a piece of jewelery is not meant to be displayed in a window. Jewelery comes alive when worn,” says Caroline Scheufele, co-president and artistic director at Chopard. “Seeing a beautiful creation worn by an iconic actress will always enhance its aura.” This year, to mark 25 fruitful years of sponsoring the Cannes Film festival the jewelery house has created a Palme d’Or trophy set with 25 sparkling diamonds on one of the 19 leaves. Chopard’s move into festival sponsorship in 1997 injected new energy into the age-old relationship between jewelery and cinema. It multiplied its opportunities to interact with clients and made a presence at film festivals unmissable for jewelery houses.

In 2021, Cartier became an official main sponsor of the Venice International Film Festival, while this year, Bulgari assumed its role as the new main sponsor of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) Film Awards and in May announced a partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival. Beyond the obvious exercise of leveraging glitzy red-carpet moments, every brand approaches festival sponsorships in its own way. “Chopard is the only jeweler who has created a collection specially designed for the festival,” says Scheufele.

While other jewelery houses host ad hoc events to present new high jewelery collections during the summer months, Chopard kicks off the season by showcasing its creations on the Cannes Film Festival’s red carpet in May. The house only began making high jewelery collections because of its partnership with Cannes, after Scheufele realized that elegant gowns needed show-stopping jewels. “Celebrities wear newly designed pieces crafted for the occasion,” she says. Since 2007, Chopard has created collections for each festival of as many pieces in number as there have been editions. “This year, we have designed 75 pieces to celebrate the festival’s 75th birthday,” says Scheufele.

Bella Hadid wears Chopard earrings and ring, Cannes 2021 © Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Phrases such as “I’ll have Jessica Chastain’s ruby ​​ring” or “Julia Roberts’ necklace, please” may be spoken by Chopard’s VIP clients hosted at the hotel Martinez. But Scheufele admits that some clients prefer discretion, and if they commit to buying a design that they have previewed, they sometimes request not to see the pieces they have chosen on celebrities.

Chopard has created several memorable red-carpet moments, from a barefoot Julia Roberts wearing a simple black gown and a gigantic emerald to Bella Hadid pairing Chopard earrings and a ring with a Schiaparelli dress featuring a revealing décolleté that was barely covered by gilded brass mimicking details. human lungs. These moments reverberate through social media and popular culture for months, sometimes years, after the event.

Zendaya debuts Bulgari's Magnifica Serpenti Hypnotic Emerald necklace, on the red carpet, Venice International Film Festival 2021

Zendaya debuts Bulgari’s Magnifica Serpenti Hypnotic Emerald necklace, on the red carpet, Venice International Film Festival 2021 © Alessandra Benedetti Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Julia Roberts barefoot on the red carpet wearing a Chopard necklace, Cannes 2016

Julia Roberts barefoot on the red carpet wearing a Chopard necklace, Cannes 2016 © Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Being associated with the magic of cinema brings jewelery houses more intangible benefits than material returns on investment. “Art is a constant source of inspiration for Cartier, and cinema as an art has always been close to our maison,” says Arnaud Carrez, chief marketing officer at Cartier. I have points to David Lynch: The Air Is On Firean exhibition about the movie director being showcased at the Fondation Cartier Pour L’Art Contemporain and the many serendipitous — and orchestrated — cameo appearances of Cartier’s pieces in movies, from Rudolph Valentino wearing his historically inaccurate Tank watch in The Son of the Sheik to Grace Kelly donning her 10.48-carat engagement ring from Prince Rainier of Monaco in her last movie, High Society.

Anne Hathaway wears Bulgari high jewelery Mediterranean Reverie necklace, Cannes 2022

Anne Hathaway wears Bulgari high jewelery Mediterranean Reverie necklace, Cannes 2022 © Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

Cartier chose to sponsor Venice because the festival is part of the La Biennale art exhibition, renowned for its critical standpoint and intellectual depth. This ties in with the many invitation-only events on culture and heritage Cartier has been organizing worldwide, including in its London flagship store. “The way we have been thinking of this festival goes beyond the red carpet. This is definitely an exclusive, rich platform to nurture relationships with the friends of the maison,” says Carrez.

Alison Bringé, chief marketing officer at media analytics company Launchmetrics, says that jewelers working closely with couture houses can create impactful moments. Those that offer both gems and gowns, such as Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, have an edge. But smaller brands with ad hoc product placements can garner huge benefits too. By dressing Benedetta Porcaroli in her lead role in The Catholic Schoolshown in Venice last year, Milan-based Rubeus managed to liaise with new clients and land other celebrity placements.

Lady Gaga wears a Tiffany & Co archive necklace and Tiffany & Co Schlumberger earrings, 2022 Bafta Film Awards

Lady Gaga wears a Tiffany & Co archive necklace and Tiffany & Co Schlumberger earrings, 2022 Bafta Film Awards © Samir Hussein/WireImage

Cindy Bruna in Chaumet, Cannes 2022

Cindy Bruna in Chaumet, Cannes 2022 © Arnold Jerocki/GC Images

“We tend to notice a rise in sales following a celebrity placement,” says Catherine Sarr, founder of Almasika, which accessorised Sandra Oh for the premiere of killing eve in February this year, and counts Michelle Obama among her clients. “However, most sales tend to be smaller versions of what the celebrity was wearing.”

“Cinema has a unique positioning as an art form. It is aspirational, popular, transgenerational and international,” says Elisabetta Pollastri, co-founder of The Spotter Lab, a trends forecast agency based in Paris. “Sponsorship allows brand elevation and large visibility.”

Lori Harvey in Messika high jewellery, Cannes 2022

Lori Harvey in Messika high jewellery, Cannes 2022 © Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Daisy Ridley wears Bulgari high jewelery necklace and a Serpenti ring, Bafta film awards 2022

Daisy Ridley wears Bulgari high jewelery necklace and a Serpenti ring, Bafta film awards 2022 © Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

A link with charitable initiatives can give a sponsorship more purpose. “Bafta’s role as a leading charity, supporting emerging talent from diverse backgrounds, was key for us,” says Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO at Bulgari. The Italian house unveiled a new high jewelery spinel collection and hosted intimate client events to coincide with the awards in London, in March this year. “Attending the Baftas represented a spectacular entertainment opportunity in line with Bulgari’s myriad high jewelery experiences for clients throughout the year,” says Babin, underlining how social media amplifies the global resonance of such events, bolstering the brand’s desirability. He adds that “Jewellery and cinema share the same mission: to make people dream.”

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