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”.