CLAS­SIC REIGN

BAZAAR has a few pre­cious mo­ments with Pi­aget’s new global ambassador, Gong Li, at the launch of the stun­ning Couture Pré­cieuse col­lec­tion in China. By Su­nitha Thaya­paran.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Contents -

Pre­cious mo­ments with Pi­aget’s global ambassador, Gong Li

It is mere hours be­fore the gala din­ner that will un­veil the del­i­cate pieces that make up Pi­aget’s Couture Pré­cieuse col­lec­tion and cel­e­brated Chi­nese ac­tress Gong Li is the very im­age of that in­scrutable beauty film crit­ics and cin­ema en­thu­si­asts re­vere her for. With quiet el­e­gance the 47-year-old fields ques­tion af­ter ques­tion from broad­cast jour­nal­ists be­fore be­ing es­corted into a quiet room for yet an­other round of in­ter­views with in­ter­na­tional print edi­tors.

“My re­la­tion­ship with Pi­aget be­gan years ago. I have a deep im­pres­sion of the brand from one of the Cannes Film Fes­ti­vals, of which it was spon­sor at the time. They put a beau­ti­ful bracelet on my hand and I re­mem­ber think­ing, with some amuse­ment, ‘I need a watch, not a bracelet; I have to work and can’t pos­si­bly wear a watch with this bracelet.’ Then a brand li­ai­son told me that it had a se­cret, and re­vealed a timepiece from be­neath. It took my breath away, this sub­tle cre­ativ­ity in terms of de­sign and tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion. It was then that I be­gan tak­ing

more of an in­ter­est in the brand. Such his­tory, since 1874, and then of course, there is Pi­aget’s very real com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing the film in­dus­try.”

The ac­tress, who emerged in the western hemi­sphere’s imag­i­na­tion with a host of Chi­nese cin­e­matic col­lab­o­ra­tions with di­rec­tor Zhang Yi­mou, is known for her con­sid­ered dis­cre­tion in the films she chooses to act in. With crit­i­cal awards un­der her belt in­clud­ing the Cannes Fes­ti­val Tro­phy and the New York Film Crit­ics Cir­cle Award, Gong Li’s po­si­tion in film is that of the sen­sual, yet in­tel­lec­tual muse.

In­deed, from her Os­car-nom­i­nated Raise the Red Lantern (1991) to the Chen Kaigedi­rected Farewell My Con­cu­bine (1993), Gong Li has long fas­ci­nated in­ter­na­tional au­di­ences with her beau­ti­ful, com­plex hero­ines: who can for­get the treach­er­ous Hat­sumomo from Mem­oirs of a Geisha?

Seated serenely be­fore us to­day, drip­ping in di­a­mond-en­crusted jewellery from the Couture Pré­cieuse col­lec­tion, her re­sponses seem al­most like she is mus­ing aloud. “I sup­pose all art comes back to the idea of col­lab­o­ra­tion. Be­fore you can work with some­one, or even a brand, your life philoso­phies have to res­onate, and I’ve al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated the in­te­gral Pi­aget ide­ol­ogy of ‘Al­ways do bet­ter than nec­es­sary’.”

As if with girl­friends trad­ing life lessons, she tells us time is the great equaliser that re­veals the real im­por­tance of fam­ily; that the key to all suc­cess is great time man­age­ment, and that she is a staunch be­liever in re­laxed style. “I like to dress sim­ply and grav­i­tate to­wards clean-cut de­signs – though I am just as happy in a T-shirt and sneak­ers. I would pair a well de­signed watch with good di­a­monds – this com­bi­na­tion would make one stand out and lift one’s spir­its. Of course, the Couture Pré­cieuse col­lec­tion is breath­tak­ing [to­day the ac­tress wears a stun­ning necklace in white gold set with bril­liant­cut di­a­monds, round rubel­lites, and pear-shaped di­a­monds,] and red is ac­tu­ally a highly aus­pi­cious colour in China.”

“My favourite piece from it is the one I will be wear­ing at the din­ner tonight – the fan de­sign. It has an Ori­en­tal con­cept yet comes across as very Euro­pean. It’s like lace, very light yet supremely el­e­gant. You know, we women wear jewellery for our­selves and one may not see it on one­self (un­less you look into a mir­ror). Some­times we wear it for oth­ers, for the plea­sure of oth­ers, but mostly, I think, for our­selves.

“In the end, as with all things in life, ev­ery­thing comes down to chem­istry, don’t you think? Es­pe­cially with jewellery, al­though I’ll ad­mit di­a­monds have al­ways been a girl’s best friend. Left to my own de­vices I pre­fer creative and de­sign-ori­ented pieces. Jewellery and wearer have to have chem­istry, and I will al­ways choose to wear some­thing I truly love.”

Gong Li

Lime­light Couture Pré­cieuse necklace, Pi­aget

Couture Pré­cieuse necklace in white gold with di­a­monds, rubel­lites, and sap­phires, Pi­aget Couture Pré­cieuse ear­rings in white gold with di­a­monds; and Couture Pré­cieuse ring in white gold with di­a­monds, both from Pi­aget

Couture Pré­cieuse necklace in white gold with di­a­monds, Pi­aget

LEFT: Zoe Sal­dana at the 2013 Film In­de­pen­dent Spirit Awards. Rose ear­rings; Rose pen­dant; and Rose rings, all from Pi­aget. BE­LOW: Stana Katic at the 2013 Film In­de­pen­dent Spirit Awards. Couture Pré­cieuse ring, Pi­aget

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