Chopard’s Caroline Scheufele Dials Up the Drama With Caroline’s Couture Collection at Hôtel-du-Cap

CANNES — Chopard copresident and artistic director Caroline Scheufele took her now-annual Cannes couture show to the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in a dramatic next step for the brand.

Last year’s debut show was scheduled last minute, but this time around, Scheufele planned a 50-look show complete with a runway down the center of the famed La Grande Allée. It was a big blowout — not to mention the nearly hurricane speed gusts of wind that caused some theatrical flare for the gowns and guests.

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Guests included Demi Moore, jury president Greta Gerwig, Diane Kruger, Bella Hadid, “Emily in Paris” star William Abadie, Un Certain Regard juror Maïmouna Doucouré, Nicky Hilton-Rothschild and Bijou Phillips, among others.

Stars, ambassadors and friends of the house aside, it wasn’t the usual fashion show crew as the front row was filled with many existing clients of the jewelry house.

It’s all part of Scheufele’s strategy to build her fashion brand into an additional line of business for the Chopard house.

The strategy would also allow the business to address a gap in the couture market when dresses have become busy and often overly large, which detracts from the jewelry, Scheufele believes.

“So I said, we have to uplift the woman, not only the jewelry, but also the dress kills the woman because it’s too loud, too important, too much [rhinestones]. Not necessarily elegant, and chic and sexy, but maybe vulgar,” Scheufele said. That take on the current state of the red carpet led her to create the line.

A runway look from Caroline’s Couture.
A runway look from Caroline’s Couture.

Scheufele also decided to give it her own name — a “maybe very daring” choice, she said — in the style of most major design houses. “Chopard is linked to high jewelry and watchmaking, and I am linked, obviously, because I am Chopard. But I call it ‘Caroline’s Couture’ because I think it wouldn’t be right [to call it Chopard couture],” she said. “Also in fashion, if you go down the line it’s always the designer’s name — Tom Ford — rather than a brand.”

She believes the existing Chopard clients are the perfect market for the couture pieces, and said it has worked this way so far. “Chopard clients, that is the first target because they already know the house,” she said.

Existing clients in the showroom ask for dresses. “So that’s organic development,” she said.

However, she does see a new market coming from those interested in the clothing and said that sales can go both ways, citing a case where someone purchased a dress and then went on to buy their first Chopard watch. “One brings the other,” she said.

She has held trunk shows in the U.S. over the past year and restaged last year’s Cannes fashion show in Singapore last December. Scheufele said she is in discussions with Saks and Neiman Marcus, as well as one additional retailer, to make the line available. If she moves into retail locations the collection will still remain “small, focused and tailor made.”

Clients have also been asking for shoes (models on the runway were in Casadei), and while Scheufele sees an opportunity there, she has no plans to launch into the footwear market in the near future.

At the Hôtel du Cap fashion show, the winds coming off of the Mediterranean sea were so strong that many guests had to be covered in metallic emergency blankets. But Scheufele reveled in the gusts, as a Chinese client told her that in Feng Shui it will bring “a lot of fortune,” she said.

A runway look from Caroline’s Couture.
A runway look from Caroline’s Couture.

Looks included lots of fanciful headgear that fit with the “fairy tale” theme set to music from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and an ethereal take on “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

Many of the looks had 3D butterflies across the bodice and princess off-the-shoulder gowns paired with tiaras, and sleeker styles in dresses included a body-hugging beaded tweed column modeled by Eva Herzigova.

Brocade suits with rounded sleeves appeared in deep purple, or a bloom of bright florals across the chest with a slim, high-waisted pant in a coordinating coral color. If anything, the collection is a rainbow of shades and a wide range of shapes without a specific silhouette. The Chopard heart, a recurring theme in her jewelry, plays on fabrics here.

Clients can be fit in a variety of locations such as Dubai or London, with the measurements sent to the couturiers, though many clients pass through Paris for fittings, she said.

Scheufele works with a professional team of designers, including Fridtjof Linde, in translating her ideas and sketches into pattern cuts, and the embroidery is completed at Maximiliano Modesti’s Kalhath Institute in India.

The men’s offering consisted of four looks and the decision was based on current client requests. She went with a wide swathe of styles for men, from an unbuttoned shirt to an emerald floral suit, instead of traditional tuxedos that are widely available in other lines. She again cited Tom Ford as an inspiration for these edgier designs.

A men’s look from Caroline’s Couture.
A men’s look from Caroline’s Couture.

Scheufele will return to Cannes each May for the fashion show. “Every Cannes for sure, then we will see whether we do something in Paris,” she said when asked about fashion week plans.

She will also continue with a red carpet strategy. Caroline’s Couture already has a placement lined up for the closing ceremony.

As a longtime Cannes Film Festival sponsor and the designer behind the Palme d’Or, Scheufele believes the brand has it all sewn up.

“I mean, the red carpet belongs to Chopard already,” she added.

Launch Gallery: A Look at Chopard’s Collection of ‘Caroline’s Couture’ Fashion Show at Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc

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