The new high-end jewelry collection by Louis Vuitton, entitled Blason, is designed by producer/singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams, the house’s own jewelry designer, Camille Miceli and under the direction (really?) of Marc Jacobs. The collection can be seen at www.louisvuitton.com. It’s bold, gem-y and most unfortunately…clichÃ©d. And if that is point to these designs, well then please pass me a glass of American brut, and we can toast to slick inauthenticity and commercialism. The video of the collection shows Mr. Williams sitting before the jewels and reviewing them as Master of Ceremonies with more than a dash of pomp-and-circumstance. He even shows us how the medallion of a ring flips and reverses. Ah, versatility in jewelry, now there’s an original thought! Of course this idea was developed back during the Renaissance, but no matter, it’s got an LV logo and a few gems, and so voilÃ , it’s new and wonderful again. Forgive me, but I think not.
The collection includes such “sculptural” pieces as hefty gold hoop earrings, the shape of which you would easily find on 47th Street—yet, again, bearing that prominent LV logo that serves to separate it from its pedestrian cousins. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought logos were no-go’s these days. LV has gone to great lengths—and has utilized the skill of enormously talented artists—to create bags where the logo isn’t simply a bygone status symbol but an integrated element of an attractive design. Dignity and grace shouldn’t be forsaken when it comes to updating a venerable house and LV successfully made that transition with their bags and Jacobs’ eloquent designs. Their jewelry line should also reflect this same philosophy, yet sadly, it seems to have no real relationship to the rest of its products.
Masonic symbols, diamond-encrusted crowns, fleur-de-lis, and a jewel-bearing cherub complete the lexicon of motifs that Jacobs put his stamp of approval on. All of which reference royalty–French, of course–and the divine (perhaps honoring the heavens above is no accident here). Now I do not blame any jewelry designer for attempting to tap into these themes–they are talismanic and enduring. However…these pieces look more like reproduction jewelry that’s trying much too hard than a cool adaptation that gives us a contemporary twist on an old concept. Jacobs did this recently with his “modernist” inspired designs, which I thought were great. I have said before that Jacobs can design practically anything—he has an originality that cannot be contained by the houses for which he works. So I have to ask, why this collection and why such a commercial endeavor? Of course, he could respond with a simple, “Why not?” and shine that mesmerizing grin he often leaves us with at the end of one of his brilliant shows, thus allowing us to ponder the answer ourselves. And if I were him this time, I might do exactly that.