Forget clothes; the red carpet is all about the jewellery now. In past after-awards mornings, my inbox would be full of who-wore-what emails. But not any more – now it is jewels, all the way down.
Consider what I woke up to: “Gold reigns supreme at the 85th Annual Academy Awards”; “Halle Berry wore Adeler Earrings and a Le Vian ring”; “Jennifer Garner in 200 carats of diamonds from the Neil Lane archival collection at the 85th annual Academy Awards”; “Zoe Saldana jewelled vision in Neil Lane white diamonds”; “Hollywood’s most glamorous stars dazzled in Van Cleef & Arpels on Oscar night: Renee Zellweger and Jeremy Renner choose the famed French jeweller for Hollywood’s Biggest night.” And so it goes on.
Now, when celebrities namecheck their dresses, they include jewellery. Hence, Anne Hathaway: Prada and Tiffany. Or Jennifer Lawrence: Dior and Chopard; Adele: Jenny Packham and Harry Winston; and Amanda Seyfried: Alexander McQueen and Lorraine Schwartz. You get the idea.
It’s a transactional relationship the same as any other: borrowed finery for exposure. Yet I can’t help feeling that there is a difference between fine jewellery and clothes – even really expensive clothes – and the “if-it-worked-for-fashion-it-will-work-for-gems” theory is wrong.
You can understand what is in it for the celebs: just the other day in Milan, I was talking to someone who works at a major jewellery house, who said that often it is even more of a pay to play situation, and a star’s fee for wearing a piece of bling can range from between $75,000-$100,000 per appearance. It’s an entire shadow salary.
And as for the brands, we did a piece on red carpet jewels as a growing trend over the weekend, and the companies involved all said it increased their social media traffic enormously. But I still wonder how much of that, if any, translates into sales.
After all, fashion brands have entry-level products, including lipsticks and wallets, in order to take advantage of the trickle-down effect, but jewellers such as Chopard and Harry Winston and Neil Lane have an entirely different definition of entry-level pricing. Even Tiffany, which offers an “accessible” silver collection, starts at $125.
As for the people who might actually buy the really expensive stuff, one chief executive of a brand that does high jewellery (ie, the level of jewellery that is the equivalent of couture) told me that they specifically don’t want any piece that has been worn before, or even photographed before on someone else, so said brand never loans out the high jewellery.
Which makes me wonder: whose buttons do they think they are pushing here?