When Louis Vuitton, the founder of the global luxury empire that bears his name, was born 200 years ago in the Jura region of France, there was little to indicate that he was destined for greatness. He came from humble stock; his was a family of carpenters, artisans and farmers. And yet it is from small steps that greatness is made. As a teenager, Vuitton took that first step when he trekked to Paris—a journey of some 400 kilometres—on foot in search of work as a trunk-maker, a craft at which he would soon excel. It wasn’t long before Vuitton’s reputation began to precede him, and he had all of Parisian high society and royalty, including the Empress Eugenie, as his loyal clientele.
The latest Louis Vuitton high jewellery collection is a glittering tribute to the fortitude and courage Vuitton demonstrated, not just as a young boy, but throughout his life. Aptly called Bravery, the 90-piece collection comprises eight sets of jewellery inspired primarily by Vuitton and his extraordinary vision, while also paying homage to the bravest of the brave in myth and legend.
Speaking about the collection she designed, Francesca Amfitheatrof, artistic director for watches and jewellery at Louis Vuitton, said, “I was surprised that a fashion house like Louis Vuitton was created through the sheer courage of one young man. Driven by his curiosity about the world, he embarked on that incredible journey across France. That’s why we have named this collection Bravery. It’s not a word often used in high jewellery. Yet these notions of determination and adventure are intrinsic to Louis Vuitton, and we wanted to express them through this collection.”
The La Constellation d’Hercule necklace features tanzanite, Australian opal and tsavorite, sprinkled with LV monogram stars, and flower-cut diamonds depicting the Hercules constellation, named after the demigod of superhuman strength. The fifth largest constellation in the sky, Hercules is only visible in the northern hemisphere in the late spring and summer and is known to have been visible when Vuitton was born on August 4, 1821. The La Constellation d’Hercule set is centred around a dramatic yet ethereal necklace, with the diamond-set rope reminiscent of those once used on trunks. Complementing the necklace are three rings, two pairs of earrings and a brooch.
The rope motif continues in L’Elan Vital, a fluid necklace with 2,500 brilliant cut diamonds, including Louis Vuitton monogram star diamonds. The necklace is set in a white gold braid, once again representing the ropes used in transporting luggage on long journeys. The monochromatic scheme does not lessen the impact of the necklace’s sensuality, its sinuousness reflected in the matching bracelets, chokers, earrings and rings.
Another monochromatic set, La Star du Nord, features a cascade of white gold and diamonds punctuated by a knot that references both the metaphorical North Star that guided Vuitton on his journey.