From the studios of Hollywood to the streets of Washington and the executive offices of Auckland, 2018 is rightfully being hailed as the Year of the Woman. And it’s not just pundits taking notice, as luxury brands look to appeal to this new, more empowered and more discerning clientele. Take Louis Vuitton’s follow-up to its 2017 Conquêtes (“Conquest”) high-jewellery collection: Conquêtes – Regalia.
Constructed around exceptional centre stones, these diamond-encrusted parures are meant to signify nothing short of “the Louis Vuitton woman’s supremacy”. Considering that insignia, ornaments and other royal emblems were once reserved for men as a means to proclaim their power and status, the maison has applied its signature gender-twisting to create a fierce yet feminine collection.
Central to the design is the use of V shapes, signifying “volute” and “Vuitton”, to create a new graphic element evoking a quatrefoil or coat of arms. Intertwined with floral shapes, laurel wreaths and fleurs-de-lys, the powerful symbols transform into opulent examples of the finest in high jewellery.
As with all such collections, Regalia was designed and produced entirely in-house at Louis Vuitton’s workshop at Paris’s Place Vendôme. Highlights of the gemmologists’ selections include a raspberry-coloured spinel, lavender-blue sapphire, 34.74-carat Paraiba tourmaline and 19.97-carat mint-green tsavorite – each taking centre stage among a multitude of dazzling diamonds.
A ruby-diamond necklace, available in long and short versions, is a prime example of the concept for the collection. The ruby, long cherished by royalty, serves as a symbol of strength and sovereignty. The V-shaped chain paired with the maison’s Monogram Flower – brought together for the first time in last year’s high-jewellery collection – evokes never-ending circles, or eternity, while the Y-shaped design suggests that quintessential men’s accessory, the necktie.
Altogether, Regalia includes seven parures and around 60 individual pieces, many influenced by the bold lines and geometric shapes of art deco. The collection – first presented in that ancient seat of power, Rome – can be viewed at the brand’s Paris flagship, Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme. The pair of classic Parisian townhouses have been restored to their former glory by architect Peter Marino, providing a fitting tribute to the princesses and powerful women who once graced their halls and paved the way for the empowering designs being produced by the Louis Vuitton atelier today.