Louis Vuitton's new Escale à Paris collection of jewels in white gold featuring a richness of diamonds in exclusive Vuitton star and flower cuts as well as brilliantly hued coloured gemstones takes us on an imaginary stroll through Paris, on the arm of none other than Louis Vuitton himself. The creative mind behind this Parisian-themed collection, Lorenz Bäumer, imagined himself back in 1854 when Louis Vuitton had just opened his first boutique on Rue Neuve des Capucines. Baron Hausmann's architecture has transformed the city from a warren of wiggling streets into grand boulevards, magnificent fountains and sweeping vistas that no doubt impressed Louis as he explored the city.
Based on the sights that Louis would have taken in, the Escale à Paris collection, which is the final stage in the L'Ame du Voyage series, interprets the wonders of Paris into precious jewels. Sapphires are transformed into splashing fountains, the Arc de Triomphe is covered in diamonds and green tsavorites embody the leafy avenues of the Tuilerie gardens.
So imagine the young Louis, drinking in the majestic, monumental and even at times, romantic architecture of Paris as like a dandy, he strolls down the Champs Elysées from the Arc de Triomphe down to the Tuileries gardens and finally to the Place Vendôme as dawn breaks over Paris. On his way, he admires the gargantuan fountains by Hitorff in the Place de la Concorde where the heat of the city in the summer is relieved by the sound of water cascading in fountains.
Vuitton enters the Tuileries where gravel crunches underfoot and seeks the cool of the shade of an avenues of trees as children run past with model sail boats on their way to the ornamental ponds. As the sun starts to set, before turning into the Place Vendôme, he stops on what is to become the terraces of the Musée de l'Orangerie. He can see the domed glass roof of the newly built Gare d'Orsay, a wonder of modern engineering and a triumph of science that houses the vehicles of a society in change: the locomotive.
All that he surveys: the roof of the station, the formal gardens of the Tuileries that symbolise the triumph of man over Nature and the ripples of the waters of the Seine are all captured in the Orangerie necklace, brooches, rings and earrings that speak so eloquently of another time, an epoch where elegance was paramount and Paris was giddy with optimism and the future looked bright. Tsavorite provide the burst of greenery against the formal repetitive patterns of the box hedges of the Tuileries and the domed roof of the Gare d'Orsay, while the deep, velvety depths of the Tanzanite remind me of the constant and silent presence of the Seine.