Eve of Enchantment
A FAIRY TALE IS BROUGHT TO LIFE AS VAN CLEEF & ARPELS LAUNCHES ITS HIGH JEWELLERY COLLECTION IN WHIMSICAL SPLENDOUR AT A HISTORIC CHÂTEAU IN FRANCE, WRITES Emilie Yabut-razon
Rainy skies had cleared by the time the first limousines arrived at Château de Chambord, two hours from Paris, for the global launch of Van Cleef & Arpels’ latest high jewellery collection, inspired by the French fairy tale Peau d’âne. It would be hard to find a location more apt than the 16th-century Loire Valley château, which looks as if it was built for a fairy-tale princess.
After alighting from their modern-day carriages, the royally attired guests were led to the château through elaborately manicured gardens bordered with grass sculptures of mythical beasts. Once in the main hall, they were served canapés and cocktails as masked dancers in medieval costumes performed and bird handlers displayed magnificent owls and other feathered friends. Champagne and hors d’oevres continued to flow as guests explored the château and its spectacular double helix open staircase, reputedly designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
A Scottish bagpipe band eventually piped the guests to dinner, leading them to a lavishly appointed red-and-gold oriental marquee set up beside the castle. Inside were velvet-lined chairs and tables elegantly decorated with
crystal goblets and thousands of colourful bouquets. Before guests entered, a fantastical parade passed by, with a royal carriage, princesses, elephants, unicorns, jesters, firebreathers and men with deer heads.
During the elaborate five-course dinner by Michelin-starred chef Marc Meneau, models presented pieces from the new high jewellery collection. The meal ended with a performance of songs from the movie Peau d’âne by opera singers Natalie Dessay and Laurent Naouri, accompanied by famous French musician Michel Legrand, who composed the movie’s score. A dazzling 30-minute fireworks display, perfectly timed to a classical score, brought the festivities to a fitting conclusion. Van Cleef & Arpels certainly succeeded in recreating the magical world of a fairy-tale princess.
ON PARADE A PROCESSION OF MYTHICAL BEASTS, MEDIEVAL CHARACTERS AND PRINCESSES WEARING SPECTACULAR JEWELS