On Lake Como, Dior Unveils a “Couture Garden”

“When I was young, my mother had a black satin evening bag that Barbara Hutton had given her, and the frame and clasp were set with Japanese garden scenes with little clouds, which fascinated me. I remember saying at the time, ‘Someday I’m going to make little scenes like that,’” she recalled. “I think, as a designer, it’s important to hold onto an element of childhood.”

Other headliners included the Buisson Couture emerald necklace that opened the show—an important piece in yellow and white gold, with diamonds, emeralds, rubies, tsavorites, and pink sapphires and spinels, anchored by a nearly 17-carat emerald center stone. The emerald is removable and can be worn separately on a simpler companion necklace. That piece, like the “emoji” necklace and 80% of the Jardin de la Couture collection, were sold before lunchtime on Sunday, with four days of VIP events left to go, noted Dior Couture managing director Charles Delapalme. One client even snapped up an entire look right off the runway—dress, jewels, and tutti quanti. Another, exasperated that her favorite necklace had sold, custom-ordered a similar one.

“Doing a big statement with the jewelry, and a big statement with the dresses can be a challenge, but that’s where the magic takes hold,” Delapalme said during an interview at the legendary hotel Villa d’Este, which Dior took over and reconfigured into a showcase for jewels, couture, and savoir-faire. Somewhere on the premises, loose stones—sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and colored diamonds among them—also were being shown to VICs. Whether kept as is or mounted into unique creations by Castellane, those gems have helped to make jewelry Dior’s fastest-growing category, with triple-digit gains, Delapalme noted. In recent months, a 101-carat flawless diamond was bought by a collector for “tens of millions,” an all-time record sale for the house.

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