Is it the most elegant of building sites, or just the most glamorous wall of advertising ever to grace the walls of Place Vendôme?
On one side, a vast Hermès billboard is hung high across the historic façades. And at street level, a diamond as big as the Ritz (recently remodelled, true to its classic style) is displayed by the hotel’s entrance as a teaser for the refurbished Graff flagship store on rue Saint-Honoré.
Twirl your eyes over the square’s central slender column, topped by Napoleon’s statue, and you will see many of the graceful buildings shielded by covers hiding major construction projects behind. Across its façade, Chaumet has a mighty screen inviting potential customers to an “ephemeral” or ”pop-up” store around the corner; ditto for Van Cleef & Arpels, with a screen painted with butterflies.https://www.instagram.com/p/B0qA8HnHXWJ/?utm_source=ig_embedAnd then there is Gucci’s giant advertisement announcing the arrival of a bijou bijoux boutique, with colourful stones and striking watches luring customers to a narrow corridor towards bolder, brighter jewels.
Historic brands have found that elegant areas and helpful staff are no longer enough pull in the big spenders. Boucheron’s CEO, Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, has transformed the traditional building with more light and space and introduced a further temptation: an invitation to dine on the upper floors with a meal provided by the Ritz.
As to the jewellery collections themselves, here are my impressions of the dazzling displays.
Gucci: Discordant symmetry
Slipping in quietly to the jewellery kingdom that is the Place Vendôme, the discreet entrance filled with watches and gems leads along a narrow, gently lit passage to an elegant, inviting space.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B0p__CnHHs4/?utm_source=ig_embedIf it weren’t for the huge advertising hoarding outside the building, it would seem that Gucci is being as subtle as its clothes and accessories are not. But Creative Director Alessandro Michele has a vision, and his “Hortus Deliciarum” – Latin for “Garden of Delights” – embodies his quirky attitude. Incorporating history and artistry is the designer’s aesthetic. But he somehow manages to make earrings with animals holding gemstones in their fangs look sweetly pretty when the piece morphs into diamond leaves and rose-pink drops.https://www.instagram.com/p/B0qAck6HPTV/?utm_source=ig_embedMichele’s quixotic style with stones perfectly suits the image he has created for Gucci, and is all the more effective for seeming instantly part of the designer’s work: a suggestion of the mystery of history with magical potions and spiritual movements.https://www.instagram.com/p/B0p_HGAnY9i/?utm_source=ig_embedAs a member of the Kering Group, the Gucci jewellery is certified for following the responsible chain-of-custody certification for stones and for the “Responsible Gold Framework”. Fair trade has been essential to serious jewellers since the Millennium, when “blood diamonds” tainted the high jewellery business.