You can call Francesca Amfitheatrof an insider’s designer – and not because she hails from the usually rarefied world of fine jewellery. For all the precious materials that she works with, the Tokyo-born, Rome/Moscow/London/NYC-raised daughter of a former Time bureau chief has always injected her pieces with a substantial dose of practicality and clever novelty.
The ones she created at her last major stint remain bestsellers, even though she exited more than two years ago. Her designs generally aren’t geared towards the typical glamour-obsessed luxury customer, yet the fact that she can still command widespread popularity only underscores her Midas touch.
Now, the elegant 51-year-old is bringing her brand of cool to Louis Vuitton, where she was appointed artistic director of watches and jewellery last April. Named B.Blossom, her debut collection seems to put an irreverent street spin on high-end cocktail baubles – all while paying tribute to the label’s heritage and fashion department.
The main motif is the Blossom: a star-shaped monogram flower designed by Georges-Louis Vuitton in 1896. Under Amfitheatrof’s modern eye, the emblem – swathed in tiny diamonds – turns up as a relief on sculptural charms crafted out of solid blocks of gold, onyx, malachite or white agate. Yeah, they’re pretty, but also anything but delicate.
Made from 18K yellow or pink gold, each design in the over 20-piece line possesses the same tough-girl-gone-sophisticated appeal. There are chain link drop earrings and bracelets inspired by the metal strap of the brand’s Twist shoulder bag, and signet rings or slim bands topped with graphic cabochons.
The thinnest necklace would still stand out visibly against a plain T-shirt – it’s anchored by a marble-sized charm. True to Amfitheatrof’s MO, everything is designed to be stacked, with the only rule to wearing them being that there shouldn’t be any rules. There’s no official word on what the “B” in B.Blossom stands for, but we’d like to think that it starts with “bad” and ends with “s”.
B.Blossom earring; necklaces with onyx (worn as body jewellery and bracelet); (on finger, from top) ring with onyx, ring with white agate, and ring; and charm bracelet with onyx and mother-of-pearl. Printed silk sheath dress. All clothes and jewellery, Louis Vuitton unless stated, with all jewellery in 18K yellow or pink gold with diamonds and 18K white gold. Nose ring, model’s own and used throughout
B.Blossom drop earring, charm bracelet with mother-of-pearl and opal (worn as choker), necklace (second from top), necklace with onyx, and rings. Wool coat
B.Blossom drop earrings; charm bracelets with mother-of-pearl and opal (worn as chokers); and rings with or without opal. Wool and leather gilet
B.Blossom necklace with onyx, and charm bracelet with mother-of-pearl and opal (worn as belt); (on left hand) charm bracelet with onyx and mother-of-pearl, and rings with (from left) onyx, malachite and white agate; (on right hand) charm bracelet with opal and mother-of-pearl, and rings with or without opal. Striped cotton shirt and wool pants
Photography Zantz Han, assisted by Jaron Tay & Md Halid Styling Imran Jalal, assisted by Karin Lew Hair & Makeup Sha Shamsi, assisted by Naz K Nails Kartini/Auum The Honest Nail Spa Model Liza V/Looque