CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 22: Sara Sampaio attends the “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” screening during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 22, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
Jewellery, celebrities, parties – these are the first words that come to mind when I think of the Cannes Film Festival, France’s annual film festival, which previews new films of all genres from around the world. And whilst it is first and foremost a film festival, it is also these “necessary ingredients” that make the eleven days on the French Riviera completely unforgettable. Every year brings with it a high concentration of celebrities from the big screen and show business who come to watch, and critique, film premieres as well as walk the red carpet. The result is thousands of journalists, stylists, critics, tourists and fans of celebrities who gather at this small resort town in the South of France. This year, together with the jewellery company, AVAKIAN, I was lucky enough to visit Cannes and plunge straight into the thick of events.
The Cannes Film Festival celebrated a significant date this year – its 70th anniversary- taking place from the 17th till the 28th of May. A number of internationally acclaimed A-listers, celebrities and glitterati touched down in the French Riviera for the anticipated annual soiree. I was graced with the presence of Kirsten Dunst, Marion Cotillard and Kristen Stewart, as well as Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Susan Sarandon, who elegantly walked the red carpet in glamorous couture gowns and lavish statement jewellery as a flurry of flashbulbs went off. It was Portuguese supermodel, Sara Sampaio, who truly pulled out all the stops at this years Cannes. As seen on the Ccercle front cover, Sampaio wore Maison Francesco Scognamiglio, a Victorian-inspired gown, at the premiere of The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Sampaio, who is styled by Jennifer Mazur, completed her look with sparkling diamond and emerald earrings and cocktail rings by AVAKIAN.
CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 21: Mary J. Blige attends “The Meyerowitz Stories” premiere during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 21, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Sara Sampaio is a rising star in the fashion industry and has made a name for herself as one of our most beloved Victoria Secret Angels. Whilst not an actress, at 25, she is a model to look out for, gracing countless pages of fashion magazines and billboards. This year, AVAKIAN was thrilled to work with Sampaio and the pairing was perfect, with an exciting opportunity for the brand to add that final glitz to her elegant red carpet looks. Sampaio was seen with other big names in the fashion industry, such as Bella Hadid, Eva Herzigova and Emily Ratajkowski, who all radiated style and beauty at the Palais des Festivals by adding a touch of model glamour to the 70th edition.
The jewellery at the festival was enchanting and I was thrilled to watch as the most glamorous of pieces were out in full display. Exquisite works were seen by Chopard, de Grisogono, Bulgari, Messika, Chanel, Boucheron, Chaumet and of course, AVAKIAN. This was the height of luxury and the jewels on show were either from the designers most recent creations or they belonged to the Signature Brands collections. Amidst the sparkling classic earrings, necklaces and bracelets made with diamonds, were the colourful gemstone jewels, like the Gatsby earrings with pink manganite or green tourmalines by AVAKIAN, which took center stage at the French Riviera and truly captivated
“We’ve been taking part in the Cannes Film Festival for five years already,” Haig Avakian was telling me in an interview that was conducted live on my Instagram feed- @katerina_perez. For each jewellery company, attending the yearly event is not only an opportunity to adorn the celebrities with their jewels, but also a chance to network and meet new potential clients. Leading luxury brands rent beautiful rooms in the Martinez and Carlton hotels where they invite the international press, celebrities and VIPs. The Martinez can be regarded as the center point for all events, as it is here that many of the most famous A-listers stay. It is in this hotel that one will find the luxury suite of Chopard, the official jewellery partner of the festival, who this year introduced a brand new ‘Red Carpet’ collection of the most luscious pieces. At the exit of the hotel, from morning until evening, there are crowds of fans waiting for the appearance of their favourite stars. We watch as celebrities emerge from the hotel at different times sporting luxury jewellery and floor-length ball gowns, after all premieres happen twice a day and for each one you have to dress so as to make an indelible impression. “This year we witnessed a sharp increase in security measures at the Cannes Film Festival, which put people more at ease to wear some very important pieces of jewellery,” says
Several hundred metres away from the Martinez on the main street, Les Croisettes, you will find another prestigious hotel –Carlton, where the AVAKIAN showroom is located. Having looked through the collections presented by the brand and watched as celebrities walked that red carpet with relentless charm, I could not help but wonder about the process of preparing the stars for their grand entrance. “We are in correspondence with the celebrities’ stylists before the event, as they don’t always come to Cannes personally. Usually, they send us photographs of the planned look for the red carpet on WhatsApp and we exchange photos of jewellery until we find the perfect option,” explains Haig. For the premiere of 120 Battements Par Minute, I was lucky enough to take part in the preparation of Sampaio’s look for this occasion. It was a thrilling experience and one I am now able to happily share with you, the Ccercle readers. I watched as the make-up artist accentuated all the right features and how the model, after several slow and thoughtful swaps, found the perfect pieces of jewelry to conclude her immaculate look. The Versace sparkling purple jumpsuit was paired with the AVAKIAN earringsfrom the Gatsby Collection with soft-pink morganites, white enamel and diamonds. She also went with the wrap-around bracelet from the Victory Collection with a pave of diamonds and mother-of-pearl. Having put on the jewellery, Sara got into a car, and after only a few minutes, was already standing in front of hundreds of lenses being ‘papped’ from all directions on the red carpet. Ten minutes later, her pictures had already appeared on Getty Images!
“Sometimes celebrities come in at an agreed time, but on other occasions everything happens spontaneously, therefore we bring jewellery to Cannes to match different tastes and styles,” explains Haig. It is without a doubt that AVAKIAN jewellery appeals to many tastes. The display at the Carlton offered a varied selection, ranging from an evening 5-row diamond necklace to a pair of elegant earrings from the permanent Riviera collection. As it happens, the first of these was worn by Mary J Blige to the Vanity Fair party, and the second sparkled on the model Toni Garrn at the premier of The Beguiled. So, the belief that red carpet jewellery is only accessible to the select few, is simply a myth.
My eleven days in Cannes was an unceasing whirlwind of events and exposure to some of the most exquisite gems. The festival is undeniably an excellent platform for jewellery premieres. “It was another glamorous year in Cannes for the 70th anniversary, where couture and jewellery brands presented some beautiful new creations,” says Haig. Taking advantage of this prime opportunity, AVAKIAN debuted a new collection of women’s jewellery watches, Lady Concept, which is inspired by the signature limited edition, Concept One collection for men, that was launched to mark the brand’s 40th anniversary. It is infused with a hint of masculinity to translate the Maison’s desire to push the creative boundaries and craft superlative designs in luxury. The watches come in a variety of colours and are already available at AVAKIAN boutique in Geneva and Moscow.