This story was first published in Prestige Malaysia March 2019 issue
“Do you believe in life coincidences?” Roberto Coin poses the question to me, his eyes twinkling with anticipation, a response to my question earlier on why he settled for Malaysia to launch his next Roberto Coin boutique at Starhill Gallery. I pause for a moment before replying with a resounding yes. “The world is changing and we thought Malaysia will be a good change,” he answerscandidly, further affirming that Roberto Coinrepresents something new today amongst the sea of jewellers in the market. Known as the jeweller to the stars, Roberto Coin’s pieces have been worn by many strong, powerful women, namely Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Barry and Reese Witherspoon. From designing a 24k gold bag to a specially commissioned cobra pen piece by King of Morocco, Roberto Coin hails from a world where he strives to achieve the impossible.
“You wear my jewellery and only then you choose your clothes to complement my jewellery.”
There isn’t one woman as I design according to many women. My job is to make the jewellery perfect with the dress a woman wears. You wear my jewellery and only then you choose your clothes to complement my jewellery. I will consider Audrey Hepburn as one of my favourite ladies as she represents femininity and elegance, while Jacqueline Kennedy represents power. I like designing for powerful, intelligent women.
I was fed up. I needed to fall in love every day. I need to be mentally busy or else I will get bored. We were very successful as a business because we were selling 4,950kg of gold a year. I took a lot of risk in theory because everything I had ever created was in demand but I did not like it. In 1995, I went to the United States and in 1996 I decided that either the brand had to undergo a change or I was prepared to jump to another business. I am a challenger and I want to achieve credibility. Roberto Coin is the only international brand born after 1995. This means there isn’t much of an opportunity for our younger generation now and that is not good. I wanted to see if I could achieve something because it would become something to be proud of.
We invented a machine that actually produces a special gold mesh for our jewellery. The idea came to me after a visit to a Porsche garage. I was not interested in buying a new Porsche, but I was fascinated to see a mesh instilled on the car as it is flexible and does not break. I wanted to find out who made this mesh and tracked down the factory that produces it. I brought some gold wires and asked the factory if they could create for me a machine that produces gold mesh. It was a difficult task but they were willing to give it a try. We managed to achieve something which had never been done before.
Are the legends that have been passed down true? I will say it is 50-50. If I present you something which I feel is positive and could bring you good luck, would you like to receive it? I have received plenty of letters from people who shared that something positive had happened to their lives after they bought a Roberto Coin bracelet or ring. A story I remember is when I went to Las Vegas to present a prize to our top sales lady at Saks Fifth Avenue. I chose a little dog which is part of our Tiny Treasures collection to gift to this lady. When she opened the gift, she automatically started crying. We were all worried as to what was wrong with her. And that was when she said, only you Mr Coin would pick a dog symbol because I lost my dog last week. Was it coincidental? Was it the ruby? If it makes you happy, it is a beautiful belief.
If you understand Roberto Coin prior to this collection, you will observe that Sauvage
represents the wild part of my mind. Thiscollection does not fit in with any ofmy existing collections. It is an anomaly. When designing a new collection, I will imagine what the elegant woman of tomorrow will wear. For the Sauvage Privé collection, I had to train my mind on how to be futuristic in the different types of design. It is simplicity at its best and to create a simplistic design that looks nice is challenging because you don’t have much to work with. It is an extension of my mind to create what I think the future young generation will buy.