Amidst the decadence and glamour of Chopard, Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, Artistic Director and Co-President, exudes an understated sense of style, one that's greatly influenced by her enthusiasm for design.
"Design is a passion for me," professes Caroline. The statement is an eloquent expression of her desire, especially given her key role in the vibrant Animal World collection of watches and jewellery. While animal motifs have been a common inspiration in jewellery designs, Chopard's exploration of the animal kingdom covers the exotic, imaginary, unusual and even the endangered. The inspiration for the collection arose from Caroline's personal fondness for animals. While gazing at her favourite stuffed toys-a monkey and a rabbit-she realised that it was a world not fully explored by the company.
Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele (left), and Bar Reffaelli wearing Chopard Jewellery (right)
A view of Chopard
From her days of studying design and gemmology to training at various departments in Chopard, Caroline made a smooth transition into the company. She reveals, "It was a natural move for me to be a part of Chopard, along with my family, and moreover, to work on the design of our products."
Today, Caroline's contribution to Chopard isn't limited to design. From involving herself in the creative development and design to overseeing the commercial aspect, she is instrumental in bringing it all together. When asked to pick a title that best defines her role, she elaborates, "It is very interesting and enriching for me to work on both aspects of the brand and its products, commercial and creative. I must always think globally, I can't consider one facet more than the other. I think of me as a creative businesswoman!"
She is quick to admit that being the owners' daughter was one of the challenges that she faced when she started out. She adds, "As the owners' daughter, I had to prove myself more than anyone else! I learnt what I know from my parents first, and then from my personal experience at Chopard."
While Chopard's iconic timepieces- Mille Miglia, L.U.C., Happy Diamonds, Happy Sport and Happy Spirit, to name a few-have always commanded a following, it is perhaps their recent Animal World collection that amazed even the most conventional at heart. With their exceptional mastery over the art of jewellery design and the whimsical quality of each design, every creation was a thrilling discovery. Her artistic contribution to this commemorative edition is well-known. Caroline reveals, "Chopard's designs are a reflection of my personality, of course, but also a reflection of what I think women are looking for to feel beautiful and special. I design with them in mind."
Over the years, the brand has entered into some exciting partnerships. Always happy to collaborate with other brands for special projects; in 2008, Caroline designed a jewelled dress with fashion designer Alberta Ferretti for the Cannes Film Festival. This year, shoe designer Giuseppe Zanotti and she created shoes, which were sold during the amfAR dinner. In her words, they were "the most precious shoes in the world." This fall, they will launch the Happy Mickey Collection with Disney.
The brand's creative energy has found expression in products that go beyond the realms of timepieces and jewellery. From fragrances, eyewear, foulards, leather goods and other accessories, Chopard is well on its way to assuming the status of an empire.
A Magnificent Diamond and Gemset Hummingbird Necklace:
Designed as a humming bird drinking from a flower,
set with pink sapphires, diamonds and precious gemstones
As artistic director and co-president of the family business, it comes as no surprise that her interest in fashion runs deep. "My fashion philosophy is to wear what makes me feel beautiful and confident, and of course, I can't do without a piece of jewellery and a watch! It doesn't take me long to get ready, I know myself and what looks good on me. Fifteen minutes can do the trick!"
Although surrounded by gorgeous products and personalities, she harbours a very minimalist approach to fashion. Given her penchant for design, one would expect a long list of favourites. Instead, she keeps it simple, "My favourite piece, jewellery or watch, is always the last one we have launched! At the moment, it is my Imperiale watch and the Animal World High Jewellery collection."
Having said that, her most treasured possession is the affection she enjoys from her family. "The thing I have [and] treasure most is the love of my family. Luxury, to me, is to have time for myself." The most unusual item one would find in her wardrobe is a pair of rain boots that she wears to walk in her garden, a rather telling sign of her fascination for the whimsical.
For a cause
Despite her hands-on approach to the business, Caroline devotes time to charitable causes, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation. From dedicating limited edition watches to benefit the foundation, to co-sponsoring annual charity events such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party and the White Tie & Tiara Ball, she actively supports causes that are close to her heart.
With no set routine in place, some days she can be found at her office in Geneva, while on other days, she travels extensively. Caroline reaffirms, "There is no regular day in my life, one day I am in Geneva and the next day I travel around the world to visit our subsidiaries or to attend a film festival, for example."
When people look at Chopard creations, she would like for them to think, "Beauty, quality and passion. My plans for the future are to continue working for Chopard creating beautiful jewels and enjoying it."
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