By Kim Parker
Back before the pandemic, in 2019 (remember those days?), Kendall Jenner was spotted with Bella Hadid, cruising off the azure coast of Monaco. In town for the Cannes film festivals, the supermodels were photographed stepping off Tommy Hilfiger’s yacht into an awaiting dinghy. Each was clad in a sunset-hued outfit and adorned with a sprinkling of diamonds – in Jenner’s case, a pair of Messika’s XXL hoop earrings.
“They’re laughing, they’re drinking champagne. It looked like an image of freedom. The kind that you only have when you’re young and carefree.” Says Valerie Messika, the jewellery brand’s founder and artistic director, of the resulting paparazzi shot. “I thought it was such an iconic picture.”
So iconic, in fact, that Jenner has just been announced as the newest face of the chic Parisian jeweller, known for its playful and delicate diamond pieces. She follows in the immaculately-shod footsteps of both her BFF’s sister, Gigi Hadid, who worked with Messika in 2018 and Kate Moss, who has collaborated with the brand since 2020.
Along with what she calls Jenner’s ‘rebellious’ photograph with Bella Hadid, Messika cites the supermodel’s flawless style credentials as the reason for wanting to sign her up.
“I’m obsessed with fashion and [Jenner] is the ultimate fashionista. She just ignites trends and she’s so professional,” explains Messika. “The whole Kardashian family – my god – they’re all so powerful, such businesswomen. What I love about Kendall is the deep and impactful way she looks at you through the camera. To me, she truly embodies this new generation of young women, who are all very strong.”
Jenner returned to the south of France for the campaign shoot last summer, which was shot by the Australian fashion photographer, Chris Colls (who has previous form, having lensed Kate Moss’s campaign with the brand). “After COVID, the blue of the sky and the sea…just being surrounded by nature, felt very freeing. [Colls] is so cool and easy to work with. He works so fast and yet his images are all very beautiful and painterly,’ says Messika.
And might there be more sparkles to come? As well as being the ‘face’ of Messika, Kate Moss has now famously co-designed two high jewellery collections with the jeweller, including vibrant malachite, opal, onyx and mother-of-pearl pieces combined with Messika’s signature white diamonds. “For the moment, [Jenner’s] just the face of our brand, but you never know,” declares Valerie Messika. So, watch this space. No doubt the paparazzi certainly are already.
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