The Adventurine Posts Francesca Amfitheatrof: Fantastical Jewels

Collage from the Louis Vuitton Bravery Collection, La Constellation d’Hercule and Cover of © Fantastical Jewels by Francesca Amfitheatrof, Rizzoli, 2023 Photo courtesy

Books & Exhibitions

Francesca Amfitheatrof: Fantastical Jewels

Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director of Jewelry reveals her process in a book

by Marion Fasel

September 25, 2023—Things have changed. Over the last ten years or so, the way High Jewelry is presented has gone from a secretive discreet situation for private clients to an almost public display. The “almost” part comes from the fact that you may not have a real-life experience with the jewels, but it’s easy to find the collections on social media. Even if you are not the type who scrolls Instagram you can see the treasures in press coverage or take a lingering look in the coffee table books routinely produced by the big Houses on the new collections.

And this public display isn’t even the most recent change in High Jewelry.

As the elite category is on fire, some Houses are upping the stakes. I am not talking about the lavish level of their destination previews splashed all over the ‘gram, but the shift from a generalized design team to an Artistic Director with a vision who shapes the collections working alongside master jewelers and gemologists. The move has made High Jewelry feel far more relevant in the mode of fashion collections.

Francesca Amfitheatrof, who has been Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director of Jewelry & Watches since 2018, is among the visionaries in the High Jewelry landscape. Now, the last four of her jewelry collections is the subject of a visually stunning new Rizzoli book Francesca Amfitheatrof: Fantastical Jewels.

Collage from The Louis Vuitton Spirit Collection from © Fantastical Jewels by Francesca Amfitheatrof, Rizzoli, 2023

Francesca describes the publication as “more of a sketchbook, an intimate and personal journey through my design process.”

The adventure of bringing a jewel into being from the sources of inspiration to drawings, gems as well as pictures of Francesca working and luminaries wearing the designs are masterfully assembled in the publication in a way that makes it feel like the divine scrapbooks of Cecil Beaton or Peter Beard.

Art Director extraordinaire Fabien Baron put together the publication and his fine hand extends to the typography, a signature of his work. The way he emphasizes certain quotes lures you in and gives them a feeling of impact and importance.

Collage from The Louis Vuitton Stellar Times Collection, Planette Blue from © Fantastical Jewels by Francesca Amfitheatrof, Rizzoli, 2023

Another way Francesca raised the bar on the concept of contemporary High Jewelry books was by having actress Cate Blanchett, who has been an elegant ambassador of the collection, pen the introduction. The Oscar winner writes like the jewelry lover she is.

“Francesca well understands the dormant passions that precious stones contain,” Cate explains. “By unlocking and harnessing their power, the wearer is not just sporting a talisman of astonishing allure but is connecting to the kinetic and the mystical.”

Collage from The Louis Vuitton Bravery Collection, La Constellation d’Hercule and Cover of © Fantastical Jewels by Francesca Amfitheatrof, Rizzoli, 2023

The strongest storyline in Fantastical Jewels visually establishes that Francesca makes jewelry for now. As the first ever and only Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton High Jewelry, she is not chained to an archive of ideas from the past. Instead, she is free to chart a new course.

Francesca’s path is one of bold bibs, confident chokers and striking triple-strand styles that are in fact one statement piece. The look is empowered like sparkling armor. Yet it is always infused with a sense of texture and movement making it feel modern—one of the rarest qualities in High Jewelry.

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