Cate Blanchett becomes Louis Vuitton jewellery ambassador

The Australian actress has become a house ambassador for Louis Vuitton, starring in a series of photographs by Sølve Sundsbø for its high jewellery collection Spirit

By Joshua Hendren

Australia’s Academy Award-winning golden girl, Cate Blanchett has been named as the latest house ambassador for Louis Vuitton, starring in a stunning series of portraits photographed by Norwegian photographer Sølve Sundsbø. Blanchett showcases the brand’s latest high jewellery collection, named Spirit.

Cate Blanchett Louis Vuitton jewellery
The new campaign starring Cate Blanchett for Louis Vuitton

Francesca Amfitheatrof, artistic director of watches and jewellery at the 168-year-old house, notes that the collection explores five themes: liberty, fantasy, grace, radiance and destiny. Blanchett – surely the epitome of elegance – captures all of these qualities effortlessly, as well as the timelessness of the Louis Vuitton woman.

“I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to collaborate with Louis Vuitton – a truly iconic House with an enormous cultural reach,” said Blanchett. “To wear the magnificent pieces created by Francesca Amfitheatrof is a bedazzling pleasure, and Nicolas Ghesquiere, as ever, amazes and inspires me.”

Spanning 125 pieces, the Spirit collection delves into the mythology surrounding fantasy creatures and reimagines it for the modern woman.

“Like a phoenix rising from the ashes to take flight, or a dragon breathing protective fire, the Louis Vuitton woman exudes amazing strength, energy and optimism,” says Amfitheatrof. “It is that very femininity – so emancipating and emblematic of the Maison – that I wanted to embody in Spirit.”

Over 40,000 hours of work in the brand’s Parisian ateliers have gone into creating this magnificent collection, which comprises more pieces than any high jewellery collection in the history of Louis Vuitton.

Liberty – the first of the collection’s themes – smashes high jewellery conventions through a showcase of 22 pieces. The crowning jewel of the line-up is the Liberty necklace, an armour-like design with a secret message hidden in it. To create the necklace, Louis Vuitton updated its Damier pattern in a glittering mosaic of square and triangle custom-cut diamonds. The ateliers then paired the stones with hinge motifs from the brand’s iconic trunks to create a rippling matrix composed of Colombian emeralds, a 2.60-carat D VVS1 diamond in the Maison’s signature Monogram Flower cut and an ultra-rare sapphire from Sri Lanka weighing an astonishing 18.08 carats.

“When a collection is all about geometry, everything has to be perfect,” Amfitheatrof points out. “If one line or cut isn’t perfect, you will notice it.”

More than 2,000 hours of craftsmanship went into creating the centrepiece of the Grace theme. An ode to the virtuosity of the Maison’s high jewellery ateliers, the Grace necklace is formed of two phoenix wings – one made of custom-cut baguette diamonds, the other a twisted metal torque of round diamonds that curves around the top of the neck in white gold. Topped with a breathtaking 65.26-carat tsavorite from East Africa that forms a detachable pendant, the Grace necklace appears alongside two other jewellery sets in monochromatic diamond made up of chokers, rings, earrings and bracelets.

“You can wear these pieces more casually, or you can dress them up,” says Amfitheatrof. “The whole collection has this more casual feel, but, trust me, it’s serious. It’s really serious.”

An interlacing of yellow gold chevron motifs, diamond-paved triangles and Vs in white gold play out in a two-row necklace that exemplifies the Fantasy theme. Punctuated by a 2.56-carat Monogram Flower-cut diamond, the necklace can be worn in three different ways and comes paired with a gold chevron ring with a crowning 8.73-carat round D FL diamond. Completing the Fantasy family are sets of sautoir necklaces, earrings, rings, and cuff bracelets designed to the same flawless standard.

The centrepiece of the Radiance theme, a second-skin necklace of yellow gold and platinum, showcases the fiery beauty of a 10.99-carat mandarin garnet. Mounted on a concave pyramid construction with diamond tips, the design comes with matching cuffs, a pendant and sets of earrings, while two rings, each adorned with a mandarin garnet, complete the family.

The final theme, Destiny, is brought to life through a repeating pattern of triangular shapes. The crowning Destiny necklace is strikingly architectural, pairing diamond-encrusted triangles with Monogram Flower-cut diamonds and a number of vibrant rubies from Mozambique. Among these stones is an emerald-cut ruby weighing over 10-carats which can be detached and worn on the accompanying solitaire ring, which features a detachable emerald-cut diamond that also hangs from the necklace.

“What’s beautiful about this necklace is that you have a mixture of yellow gold and white gold, as well as the arrow shape – the soft V – which reinforces a Louis Vuitton signature but in a very subtle and subliminal way,” explains Amfitheatrof. “It may look like quite a simple piece, but to achieve such a geometry while making the piece full of movement is incredibly complicated.”

Rounding off the Destiny family is an additional three-row diamond and ruby necklace, a variety of earrings, rings and bracelets, and a brooch. “This collection really represents the Louis Vuitton woman,” says Amfitheatrof. “We have our narrative now – incredible coloured stones at incredible quality. Spirit gives you this sense of protection and strength. It feels like you can go anywhere.”