Chopard And Cinema's New Golden Age

By Christian Barker

For more than two decades, Chopard has played a central role in the world of cinema through its collaboration with the Cannes Film Festival

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Chopard’s co-president and artistic director Caroline Scheufele says she has always had a passion for cinema. But it was only in the late Nineties that she was presented with the opportunity to combine her love for film with her occupation—creating beautiful, precious objects.

Visiting the office of the Cannes Film Festival’s then director, Pierre Viot, in 1997, she was struck by how “unglamorous” the original Palme d’Or trophy was. “I asked whether I might have the opportunity to redesign it,” Scheufele explains. “Pierre said, ‘Of course, young lady!’ My family thought I was mad to take on such a challenge.”

The design of the Palme d’Or is inspired by the palm trees that line Cannes’ famous seafront boulevard, the Croisette, and by the palm leaf central to the city’s coat of arms. In rethinking the award, Scheufele says, “I had to respect the palm motif and the number of fronds on the stem, because the festival’s logo was already copyrighted around the world, but apart from that I was free to do as I pleased.”

At the closing ceremony of the festival in 1998, Scheufele’s new and improved Palme d’Or made its debut.“I gave the palm volume, made it three-dimensional, brought it to life and placed it atop a rock crystal cut like a diamond,” she says. Her design remains unaltered to this day.

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Taron Egerton in Rocketman from Paramount Pictures.
Above  Taron Egerton in Rocketman

Since 2014, the Palme d’Or, for the best feature film, and the mini Palme, for the best short film, have been cast in Fairmined 18-karat yellow gold. The certification, pioneered by Chopard, guarantees that the metal has been mined in a responsible, sustainable manner by workers labouring in safe conditions for a fair day’s pay. This sense of ethics plays a key role in Chopard’s appeal to principled movie stars. 

“Many of our celebrity friends are involved in various foundations and organisations focused on nature, conservation, protecting the oceans and so forth. Of course they are proud to help further promote sustainability through what they do, how they appear—and what they wear,” says Scheufele.

Chopard is also responsible for shaping and engraving the palm-emblazoned rock crystals, sourced sustainably from mines in Austria, that serve as the other awards at Cannes. In addition, in 2001, the maison created an award all of its own—the Trophée Chopard, which recognises talents of tomorrow. It has been bestowed upon rising stars including Audrey Tautou, Marion Cotillard and John Boyega.

“It’s a tough world, the film industry,” Scheufele says. “We bring the winners to the attention of the global press at the festival and we host them on the red carpet, which gives them huge exposure.”

Many of our celebrity friends are involved in various foundations... Of course they are proud to help further promote sustainability through what they do, how they appear—and what they wear

Every year, Scheufele designs the Red Carpet Collection, a series of high-jewellery pieces created to adorn stars as they attend Cannes’ legendary parties. The number of pieces in the collection reflects the number of years the film festival has existed—in 2020, 73 stunning high-jewellery creations were designed.

Sadly, due to Covid-19, no physical festival took place in Cannes in 2020. Chopard is, however, working on a series of events in October supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross and its work battling the coronavirus crisis.

Some of the world’s biggest stars have climbed the stairs to the awards venue sporting pieces from Chopard’s Red Carpet Collection. They include Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, Fan Bing Bing, Zhang Ziyi and Lupita Nyong’o.

Chopard watches and jewellery have also appeared on screen on numerous occasions. The maison recently supplied an array of creations to appear in Rocket Man, recounting the life story of Scheufele’s close friend, Sir Elton John. And when the delayed Bond film No Time to Die finally reaches cinemas, Ana de Armas will be seen adorned in three haute-joaillerie models from Chopard’s Green Carpet Collection—a necklace set with pear-shaped diamonds totalling 43 carats, a bracelet featuring an 82-carat cascade of pear-shaped and brilliant-cut diamonds, and earrings boasting 14 carats of pear-shaped diamonds.

With Chopard having been closely involved in the world of film for more than two decades via its association with the Cannes festival, its jewels often star on the silver screen like this. As Scheufele puts it, in life, as in cinematic plot lines, “One thing often leads to another.”

Chopard sponsors the Entertainment and Philanthropy & Charity categories of the Gen.T List 2020.

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