Jewelry houses are adapting to better satisfy women who buy jewelry for themselves. But what about the men who buy high jewelry pieces for themselves?
With its extensive collection of Art Deco-style fine jewelry, revealed this week, Boucheron answers the question. The French house has unveiled its answers via a campaign that convincingly pleads to position high jewelry in neutral territory.
“My convictions run deep. I don't understand why the maharajahs, the kings of France… They all wore jewelry. But with the arrival of the bourgeoisie, men were no longer allowed to wear them. Why? asks Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, CEO of Boucheron.
The Emerald Plastron necklace, set with more than 1.000 Carats of Zambian Emerald Beads, was designed with such a mindset. For a time when great men wore jewelry as a symbol of their status.
A History of Style, Art Deco: unisex jewelry
Inspired by the jewels that the historic Place Vendôme house had designed for the Maharajah of Patiala, the necklace is a central piece of the collection, entitled "A History of Style, Art Deco".
Boucheron's artistic director, Claire Choisne, has studied the archives of the house. She drew inspiration from this rich period to create updated pieces for today's consumer.
The custom of the house is to focus on the archives for the first collection of the year. While the second, released in July, focuses on innovation.
“I searched the archives, they are rich in terms of the Art Deco period. There are almost too many,” enthuses Choisne.
The collection crystallizes the glamor of this period, the extravagance of the pieces tempered by clean lines, delineated mainly by black and white and a touch of color, mainly emeralds. The photo campaign took place at the Galerie Marcilhac, an Art Deco specialist, where models posed on a René Drouet sofa.
Orchestrated around an 8.02-carat emerald, the Emerald Cravate necklace is worn like a tie. It features an elaborate geometric pattern in onyx and black lacquer, worked around the central stone. The center can detach to be worn as a brooch. Reminiscent of the flapper style, the house also offered a white gold ribbon set with baguette-cut diamonds forming a chevron pattern - to be worn as a belt with a tuxedo, a headband or two bracelets. Arc-shaped pieces have been contoured for a unisex look.Never has Boucheron invested so much in precious stones as for this collection, noted Poulit-Duquesne.
Resumption of demand for jewelry
House bosses anticipate an increase in demand for jewelry when the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Many parts have been reserved without being collected by customers, who are often unable to travel.
“ When the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, fine jewelry will take off. The numbers will double overnight,” she predicted.
Unlike many other luxury jewelry houses, Boucheron did not ignore last year, it did release its collection. Since the customers could not come to see the jewelry, it was the jewelry that came to see them.
“This was the first time our fine jewelry collection took a major tour of Asia,” Poulit-Duquesne said, checking off the list of destinations, which included Tiawan, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. "The crisis has forced us to leave our comfort zone and do things differently," she added.
Online sale of men's jewelry, new methods
The house has launched services for online sale of jewellery, click and collect, and a bot on its website. He redirects customers to store staff - including the boutique in Cannes, on the French Riviera. The store, which saw its traffic dry up due to the shutdown of tourism, has now enjoyed a 200% increase in sales.
Boucheron has also developed a distance selling service for fine jewelry. Even if the time is timed, the virtual consultation cannot exceed 20 minutes. Its reference point of sale in Place Vendôme has the capacity to serve 3 customers at the same time.
“I had no idea how technical it would be,” notes Poulit-Duquesne, while drawing a parallel with television studios.
But even for internal meetings, the investment is worth it, she added, stressing the importance of image quality, especially for luxury brands.
Demonstrating the lasting effect of the change brought about by the current disruptions, Boucheron executives plan to maintain these online sales services over the long term, as part of a multi-channel sales offer.
The brand opened its fourth store in China last summer, at the SKP mall in Beijing. This jewelry store was inspired by the architecture and service of its benchmark boutique on Place Vendôme. It includes a tea room inspired by the winter garden of Place Vendôme. It highlights the French way of life by serving tea and pastries.