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.
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.”
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