Unveiled at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival in May, the 17-piece Rihanna Loves Chopard haute joaillerie collection celebrated the maison’s 20th year as the festival’s official partner. The vibrant pieces take inspiration from Rihanna’s Barbadian heritage, or as Scheufele puts it, “the lush gardens of Barbados and the electricity of Carnival”.
The haute joaillerie collection includes chandelier earrings studded with clusters of yellow, pink and blue sapphires, aquamarines, rubies and diamonds (and more); diamond cuffs that snake up the ear; and a twinkling watch set with 18.6 carats of pear-shaped and 13 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds. There are butterflies, flowers and a sense that too much can never quite be enough. The nine-piece, 18-carat rose gold core collection features slick, geometric pieces with rectangles of jungle green ceramic, a colour chosen by the singer.
Opportunity to experiment
Scheufele describes the collaboration as an opportunity for her maison to experiment. Stacy Jones, chief executive of Los Angeles-based celebrity marketing agency Hollywood Branded, describes it as shrewd.
“Chopard has managed to open the doors to a younger demographic that was less familiar with their brand, and who will view the brand as cool and aspirational,” she says. “As this demographic ages, their purchase decisions on jewellery will have been coloured and impacted by this celebrity partnership, heightening future sales.”
Typically, celebrity-luxury brand collaborations have involved ad campaigns, brand ambassadorships and the lucrative and competitive business of draping celebrities in jewels for events. An example of how things are changing is the commercial released on social media and in select cinemas in June that was directed by Sofia Coppola for Cartier to celebrate the relaunch of the historic Paris jeweller’s Panthère watch. (Coppola made history at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in becoming only the second woman to win the best director prize for The Beguiled.)
This kind of celebrity buy-in has become crucial for luxury brands to achieve cut-through, says Jones. “The future of luxury brands is based on those brands finding a way to appeal to Millennial audiences. Many Millennials value where they spend money very differently than those of the Gen X or Baby Boomer generations. Experiences are more important than a single big purchase. Finding a way to communicate and engage with a Millennial as they grow through life has to be the backbone to any brand’s strategy – of any category,” she says.
The Rihanna Loves Chopard collections arrive in Chopard’s Sydney and Melbourne boutiques from this month.