May 14, 2015
Luxury houses such as Christian Dior and Chopard are rallying together to celebrate the 68th Cannes Film Festival through initiatives honoring their cinematic ties and the industry as a whole.
Held annually since 1946, the international film festival has been a glamorous affair that has given starlets red carpet opportunities and brands a platform to show off their designs, while also highlighting their role in cinema, both on-screen and behind-the-scenes. In general, luxury houses are deeply connected to the art world, and cinema may be the foremost art form associated with wealth and high-end goods.
"The Cannes Film Festival is itself one of the most venerated cultural institutions," said Thomaï Serdari, Ph.D., founder of PIQLuxury and adjunct professor of luxury marketing at New York University, New York. "Since its inception it has projected a glamorous and aspirational lifestyle, studded with the most beautiful and creative people who have been associated with the oldest luxury houses.
"The public expects to see some of the most innovative cinematic works along with the most forward thinking fashion designs," she said. "The Cannes Festival, while in its 68th year, has remained youthful, practically ageless, and glamorous in the public perception.
"This means that it's identity operates on the same level of other luxury brands, themselves a promise of future value."
French fashion label Dior unofficially kicked off Cannes Film Festival on May 11 with its cruise collection presentation held just outside the city of Cannes at the Palais Bulles, or Bubble Palace, a mollusk-like structure with no right angles designed by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag. The home is now owned by designer Pierre Cardin, who in 1947 was the head of coats and suits at Dior when the house officially launched with the New Look.
New York magazine’s fashion blog The Cut summarized the cruise presentation by wondering “which Dior girl will wear [the collection] first, a few miles down the Riviera at the Cannes Film Festival," continuing to say that the collection "fell firmly in the ‘cruise’ category: comely, salable, easy to wear and simply begging for a Riviera vacation to wear it on.”
Dior's 2015 cruise collection at Palais Bulles near Cannes
During the festival May 13-24, Dior will be present at Dior Suite at the Majestic Hotel on the Croisette with a branded pop-up shop held within the room where celebrities can select couture gowns to wear on the red carpet. The $18,000 per night hotel room on the sixth floor of the property includes 180-degree panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea, a terrace, two guest rooms and personal butler service.
Also, the hotel's Majestic Penthouse will be occupied by luxury conglomerate Kering, the festival's new official partner.
"The carefree, sporty, and luxurious landscape of the Mediterranean has traditionally been a Mecca for the ultra-wealthy, who dock their yachts near by and enjoy the best that area has to offer either in natural beauty or in opulent hotels, casinos, and resorts," Ms. Serdari said. "The area remains a magnet of wealth that originated in the West but predominately in the Middle East and Asia.
"Therefore, it presents a great opportunity for luxury brands to showcase their cruise fashion line or other product, hard luxury included," she said.
Others are narrowing scopes on their work within the film industry from restoration projects to initiatives that honor women on the silver screen.
For example, Italian fashion label Gucci has stayed true to its commitment to the arts, working with Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation for the past 10 years. Gucci is currently celebrating this important milestone with the release of its latest project at the 68th Cannes Film Festival.
The most recent film that has been restored by The Film Foundation is Luchino Visconti’s “Rocco e i suoi fratelli,” which was originally released in 1960. It will be presented at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, marking the 10th year that Gucci has participated in The Film Foundation’s restoration projects (see story).
Kering, parent company of Gucci, is also taking time to honor leading ladies who have “made Cannes so special” through its “Women in Motion” program. Women in Motion consists of talks in which attendees will delve into the role of females within cinema and establishes new awards to be given out during the festival to honor those championing women in film (see story).
In a minute-long video shared on social media, Kering shows footage from the red carpet and events during the festival in black-and-white.
While Kering honored women in film, Swiss jeweler Chopard took an inward approach that examines the brand’s involvement with Cannes.
In the days leading up to the festival, Chopard shared images of its jewelers constructing pieces that will be worn on the red carpet as well as a behind-the-scenes video of model Alessandra Ambrosio trying on jewelry in the kitchen of the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez.
A second film clip shows model Karlie Kloss in Chopard’s Diamonds collection as she shoots a scene using a vintage Bolex Paillard Zoom Reflex P1 movie camera from the 1960s.
We pay tribute to the upcoming 68th Festival de Cannes - Page Officielle with our short movie starring Karlie Kloss in Chopard Diamonds and a vintage Bolex Paillard Zoom Refley P1 camera from the 1960’s #Cannes2015
Posted by Chopard on Tuesday, May 12, 2015
To further inform consumers of its involvement as an official partner, Chopard also put together a blog post dedicated to the Palme D’Or, the prestigious award given at the film festival.
In the article, Chopard discusses the handcrafted Palme D’Or trophy, made by the jeweler since 1998, giving an overview of the design created by the brand’s co-president and artistic director Caroline Scheufele and of its construction in its Geneva workshops.
Unfortunately for some with a presence in Cannes, the publicity surrounding the event causes some unease, especially for Cartier, who was the victim of a robbery in the French Riviera city on May 8. The burglars stole an estimated $20 million worth of gems in under four minutes.
The future of Cannes
From Dior’s cruise presentation to models behind-the-scenes at international fashion weeks, social sharing application Snapchat has provided an outlet for brands to share “insider” content.
For example, Michael Kors and Valentino were among the brands that took advantage of the application’s ability to share fleeting glimpses of personal moments, inviting them into a form of community (see story).
Now, Snapchat will experience Cannes through a tie-in with Parisian jeweler Boucheron. On social media, Boucheron encouraged its followers to follow its handle, BoucheronParis, on Snapchat to experience the Cannes Film Festival alongside the maison.
Boucheron's ghost icon for Snapchat
Although many luxury houses are rooted in the glamour and sophistication of Cannes, introducing modern touchpoints to communicate with global consumers allows these brands to maintain a modern perspective.
"It is a large investment for luxury brands to sponsor or stage events at the Cannes festival," Ms. Serdari said. "However, the exposure they get in return and most importantly the association of their name with that of the film festival is priceless.
"This is not only about brand synergies, or exposure to a captive audience of ultra wealthy prospects," she said. "It is mainly of each brand's elevated status just based on the fact that they can afford the expenditure required for their presence and events at Cannes.
"In other words, the Cannes festival has a halo effect on luxury brands who make that locale their destination. Luxury brands offer aspirational lifestyles to consumers. The Cannes festival offers an aspirational landscape for luxury brands."
Jen King, lead reporter on Luxury Daily, New York