Jewellery

Francesca Amfitheatrof on Spirit, her new high jewellery collection for Louis Vuitton

As Francesca Amfitheatrof unveils her latest high jewellery offering for Louis Vuitton, titled Spirit, Something About Rocks captures the new collection in a series of exclusive pictures

7 July 2022

Photography by Pascal Emmeran

Artistic Director Francesca Amfitheatrof looked to mythology to find inspiration for Louis Vuitton’s latest high jewellery collection that was presented in Marrakech last week. Named Spirit, this fourth high jewellery collection by Amfitheatrof was inspired by fantasy creatures including dragons and phoenixes which have been reinterpreted into unique high jewellery pieces infused with her contemporary vision.

“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.”

Louis Vuitton Spirit shoot Something About Rocks
Louis Vuitton Spirit

The collection features five key themes across 125 spectacular pieces: Radiance, Liberty, Destiny, Fantasy and Grace. It’s the maison’s largest ever collection of high jewellery and highlights the importance of the category to the brand.

Spirit required over 40,000 hours of work carried out in the brand’s Parisian ateliers. It took Louis Vuitton three years to source the perfect gems; with sapphires from Sri Lanka, emeralds from Colombia and deep red rubies from Mozambique. 

Louis Vuitton Spirit shoot Something About Rocks
Louis Vuitton Spirit
Louis Vuitton High Jewellery for Rocks Summer 2022
Louis Vuitton Spirit

“We always bought African rubies, it’s now become a huge thing because it’s been exposed that the military makes money off rubies in Burma,” Amfitheatrof reveals. “Nobody wants to support that regime, but we luckily have always bought rubies from Africa. The great thing is a lot of people felt that wasn’t appealing, because it’s always been marketed that rubies have to come from Burma. Instead, we source our stones very carefully and we want to know where they come from. So we’ve always sourced from Africa and thank god because we have a lot in this collection.”

Louis Vuitton Spirit shoot Something About Rocks
Louis Vuitton Spirit
Louis Vuitton Spirit shoot Something About Rocks
Louis Vuitton Spirit

The most noteworthy use of such rare gemstones is within the collection’s Destiny theme, which is brought to life through vibrant rubies from Mozambique that crown the strikingly architectural Destiny necklace. 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. 

Louis Vuitton Spirit shoot Something About Rocks
Louis Vuitton Spirit
Louis Vuitton High Jewellery for Rocks Summer 2022
Louis Vuitton Spirit

“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.”

Discussing the collection’s Radiance theme, Amfitheatrof unveils a second-skin necklace of yellow gold and platinum. “This is the dragon, the scales necklace. It’s a big piece, but super soft,” she notes. “There’s little pyramids throughout and then, brilliant diamonds and more pyramids, alongside the signature Louis Vuitton V and custom-cut glass.” And at the centre of the necklace? A fiery 10.99-carat mandarin garnet. “This is a stone you don’t often see,” says Amfitheatrof, revealing the matching cuffs, pendants, earrings and two rings, each adorned with a mandarin garnets, that complete the family. “I have always tried to do animals that feel like they protect you – animals that have armour-like skin. I always felt it was very us. And so, we just mix them together, because it represents the Vuitton woman in a way, that you have this sense of protection and strength and you can go anywhere.” 

Louis Vuitton High Jewellery for Rocks Summer 2022
Louis Vuitton Spirit

An interlacing of yellow gold chevron motifs, diamond-paved triangles and Vs in white gold form a two-row necklace that exemplifies the Fantasy theme. “I’m always for the big necklace,” says Amfitheatrof, “but we started to do something slightly more delicate and supple. You can wear the Fantasy necklace with just the top, and you can wear it with just the bottom, or wear them all together.” Punctuated by a 2.56-carat Monogram Flower-cut diamond, the necklace is paired with a gold chevron ring with a crowning 8.73-carat round D FL diamond. Completing the Fantasy family are sets of earrings, sautoir necklaces, rings, and cuff bracelets designed to the same flawless standard.

Louis Vuitton Spirit shoot Something About Rocks
Louis Vuitton Spirit
Louis Vuitton High Jewellery for Rocks Summer 2022
Louis Vuitton Spirit

More than 2,000 hours of craftsmanship went into creating the centrepiece of the Grace theme, which 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. “It’s all with different sized diamonds,” explains Amfitheatrof. “The development of these pieces is insane. Making sure every single stone is laid out perfectly for the drilling is incredibly challenging.” Topped with a 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.

Louis Vuitton High Jewellery for Rocks Summer 2022
Louis Vuitton Spirit

The final theme, Liberty, comprises 22 showstopping pieces. The crowning jewel? The Liberty necklace, an armour-like design with a secret message hidden in it. To create the piece, Louis Vuitton updated its Damier pattern in a sparkling 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. 

Louis Vuitton High Jewellery for Rocks Summer 2022
Louis Vuitton Spirit

“Next year, we’re getting even bigger,” says Amfitheatrof, of her grand plans for Louis Vuitton’s high jewellery. “The presentations are becoming more important, and we’re really strong in terms of volume. Our strengths are very much coloured stones,” she adds. “We are now buying incredible, coloured stones at incredible quality. It’s really starting to feel that we have our narrative now. We know who we are. All the way from our first collection, Riders of the Knights, we’re just becoming stronger and stronger.”

Styling by Alicia Ellis, Model Kristy Ponomar @select models Words by Ian Thorley & Joshua Hendren, Hair Barthelemy Joris, Makeup Marion Robine, Nails Adrienne Sorter

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