This story was first published in Prestige Malaysia April 2019 issue
For centuries, the eternal renewal of nature has served as inspiration to many fascinating high jewellery creations by Van Cleef & Arpels. The Nature en Majesté exhibition which was held in Singapore recently pays tribute to one of the maison’s main sources of inspiration and we speak to Hugues de Pins, Managing Director of South East Asia and Australia, on his new role and ambition for the brand.
Since 1906, the year Van Cleef & Arpels was founded, it has been a commitment from us to never stop creating and innovating especially when clients’ expectation is at the highest level and they constantly want to be surprised.
One of our favourite ways of enchanting our clients is to bring in new pieces and collections. What we do every year is to work on a specific theme for our high jewellery collection. In 2017, we launched Le Secret and in 2018, we pay tribute to the Grimm’s Fairy Tale. We follow the tradition of releasing a thematic collection every year and our clients love it because they get to travel with us and rediscover an enchanted world.
Another important aspect of how we continue to enchant through the world of high jewellery is through the amazing stones and we call these stones character stones because we believe they possess character and life. Each of them has a completely different origin and quality. The sun diamond with 12ct DIA 2 way diamond in the Nature en Majesté event is one such character stone.
Another way for the maison to enchant is also through craftsmanship and Van Cleef & Arpels created the mystery setting technique in 1933. The best example of this craftsmanship is the flying butterfly between-the- finger ring. It is made out of rubies set mysteriously. Those techniques allow Van Cleef & Arpels to tell those stories in a much more animated way with either articulated stones or three dimensional pieces.
I really like the sun diamond, it’s a 12ct DIA 2 way diamond and you get a ray of sunshine with yellow diamonds. I also like the heritage collection pieces, there was a ring with beautiful yellow sapphire. Most of the pieces were sourced from our boutiques specialising in high jewellery.
These are markets which are indeed very important for us because we have started to implement our retail network in Singapore, Malaysia and more recently Thailand. However, we have a long track record of relationship with our clients and many families have been faithful clients of the maison for generations.
Looking at future growth, we see a growing appetite of local clients not only for high jewellery but for our more accessible wearable collections which are extremely popular across generations. The ambition we have is not to be everywhere, we don’t pursue opening a boutique in each and every city – it has to make sense from an education and maturity standpoint.
We like to create a meaningful presence where we find a strong community of clients or potential clients. What’s important for us is to enhance the client experience wherever we are and the sales growth is a consequence of that.
As I’m coming to this region, I’m discovering new local institutions such as the Singapore Dance Theatre and the Australian ballet. I was very impressed by the Australian ballet’s level of professionalism. We actually already have a wonderful partnership with them before I came on board which I hope to strengthen further and we have some other opportunities to support dance ballet in the region. We are also looking at strengthening other partnerships that we have worldwide with other dance companies such as The Royal Ballet in London and the Los Angeles Dance Project.