After taking us on a dazzling voyage around the world, Louis Vuitton's final installment of the L'Ame du Voyage, or 'Love of Travel' collection of high jewels called 'Escale á Paris' brings us back to the heart of the city, where the story began. This set is the final chapter in the tantalising tale that jewellery designer Lorenz Bäumer has spun in precious jewels and gold.
The latest arrivals called the "Place Vendôme" from the 'Escale á Paris' collection map out the elegant streets and boulevards of Paris in graduated yellow diamonds that evoke dawn in the 'city of lights'. A map is quite literally picked out in gems, all leading to the Place Vendôme, represented by a large diamond cut into the famous Vuitton flower shape. This set of jewels represents the culmination of the Vuitton voyage in through the world of high jewellery and pays homage to the Place Vendôme, which is in the very heart of Paris and the epicentre of refinement and jewels. The jewels also are a sparkling tribute to the fact that Louis Vuitton has recently opened a jewellery boutique and ateliers at 23 Place Vendôme.
Each jewel perfectly crystallises a moment, a sensation or a mood gathered on this fantasy journey around the globe. The jewels, like a Vuitton steamer trunk, preserve the treasures garnered from exotic locations, and carefully transport them back home. The first travel-inspired jewels featured cascades of aquamarines, ribbons of spinels and explosions of diamonds that told tales of faraway kingdoms, temptuous flamenco dancers, delicate Polynesian breezes or rock star goddesses. But now that these jewelled souvenirs of distant locations have been unpacked and displayed, the focus is on Paris.
With 'Escale á Paris' Lorenz Bäumer has captured the spirit of this elegant city with a wide range of inspirations from rings that sparkle with the water of the ornate fountains of formal gardens of the Jardin des Tuileries. The Champs Elysées necklace glows with a long stream of red spinels representing the rear lights of cars heading towards the Arc de Triomphe and coming the opposite way are diamond headlights. The photographs by Coppi Barbieri cleverly show how each location has inspired the jewels. The most dramatic pieces have been saved for the last and it is fitting that the new jewels are unveiled as Vuitton opens the doors of its Place Vendôme boutique and ateliers.
The elegantly cool interiors of 23 Place Vendôme are the work of architect Peter Marino who has chosen natural materials and soft tones to highlight the jewels. Peter Marino tells us he chose: "straw, because it is light, blonde and luminous like gold. Its evident simplicity does not jar with the sumptuousness of the jewels; it simply accompanies and complements their radiance."
The serene and calm space is clad in light rosewood panelling and tobacco leather to allow the jewels shine. "The jewels are the stars," says Marino, "the decor must not compete with their radiance; it should show them off to their best advantage. Every piece of jewellery tells a story, you have to make room for dialogue and the dream that it inspires in the customer."