VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
Something wonderful happened when Van Cleef & Arpels last sat down with Benjamin Millepied and learned about his upcoming dance revival of Romeo and Juliet. It prompted an all-new high jewellery collection dedicated to the star-crossed lovers. But what some of us might not know, that wasn’t the first time the brand had been in conversation with the French choreographer nor was it the first time it had linked itself to the world of dance.
The not-so-secret love affair between the two can be traced back to the 1940s when Louis Arpels created the brand’s very first ballerina clips. His fascination for ballet and opera was mutually shared by his nephew Claude, who in turn had courted co-founder of the New York City Ballet George Balanchine. Inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels’ emeralds, rubies and diamonds, Balanchine then put together a special ballet showing titled Jewels in 1967.
Fast forward to half a century later, the jeweller has forged a new partnership with Millepied’s L.A Dance Project, giving rise to the Gems dance trilogy.
The founder of the artist collective brought his vision of precious stones to life with every chapter of the series: Reflections which was staged at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris; Hearts & Arrows at Gusman Center’s Olympia Theater in Miami; and On the Other Side at Sadler’s Wells in London.
It is no secret that Cartier is an ardent supporter of the arts. The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, for instance, has been one of the hallmarks of the French arts scene ever since it came into being in the early 1980s. Extending its reach to the creative community, the Maison has initiated the Resonances program that aims to help nurture talented young musicians in their pursuit of musical veracity and identity.
The jeweller recently worked with celebrated Chinese pianist Zhu Xiao Mei to set up the Academie France-Chine. Through its musical sponsorship project, Cartier offers the new generation of pianists from the academy a chance to perform at the most prestigious events and venues in Paris.
This golden opportunity not only allows these artists to reach a wider pool of discerning audience but also to release a record of their own.
Just last year, four budding talents were invited to showcase their work at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. And after receiving the special Jury Prize at the famed Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow, the winner of the Resonances musical program, An Tianxu, was invited to perform a repertoire of Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff at the launch of Cartier’s Magnitude de Cartier fine jewellery collection.
Remember that moment in Moulin Rouge! when Nicole Kidman swung and dangled from a trapeze in a Swarovski crystal-studded satin bodysuit while crooning to the strains of Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend? That was a cultural reset.
So when the news broke that the property was headed to Broadway, Swarovski did not hesitate to once again lend its signature sparkle to bring out the glitz, glamour and electrifying debauchery of the Parisian cabaret.
The Austrian house reunited with veteran collaborator and Tony Award-winning costume designer Catherine Zuber to design five extraordinary looks for the femme fatale protagonist Satine, as well as the brightly coloured corsets for the ensemble cast for the show’s opening number. Embellished with over 30,000 Swarovski crystals, the garments lit up the Al Hirschfeld Theatre even in its darkest.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical is the latest proof of Swarovski’s commitment to musical theatre that adds to the endless list of productions it has been a part of. The brand previously worked alongside costume supervisor Billy Roache to recreate Dorothy’s iconic ruby red slippers for The Wizard of Oz’s Australian tour and costume designer Gregg Barnes to fashion 337 individual costumes for the stage adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin in London’s West End.