Luxury Brands and Sustainability​

There’s no greater gift than thinking that you had some impact on the world, for the better.

Gloria Steinem

In today’s word, the meaning of luxury in fashion has evolved from serving to distinguish social status to involving exclusivity, being timeless, offering impeccable craftsmanship and last but not least use of sustainable practices. Ethical luxury fashion brands are being mindful of this shift and the dynamics of these social-cultural changes. Whether private or public, the consumers and investors evaluate and form an opinion on the fashion brands based on their ethical sourcing to production, and their balanced, diversified and fair governance.  The truth is that the informed and connected stakeholders care about our planet and definitely, this is not a fad!  They have the power to boycott a brand, and unquestionably they care about their future. These standards echo the sentiment of the 21st century.

The mindfulness of modern society has influenced the creators and investors to reconsider the factors of evaluation and profit. The common thread for all is sustainability. Clearly, the short-term profitability is important still, staying the darling of the luxury aficionados community is about masterminding sustainable policies and directions. Introducing quality products that benefit everyone including the whole supply chain and our planet’s natural resources must be the grand title of their brand strategy.

The conscious luxury brands such as Gabriela Hearst, a New York-based fashion designer has proven that her investment in ethical sourcing and the use of environmentally friendly materials in her collections are beneficial for her clientele, business and our planet. Her conviction that sustainability is necessary for high luxury fashion is apparent in every stage of her fashion sphere. Manos del Uruguay, a 50-year-old nonprofit that empowers rural women, manufactures Hearst’s fluffy cashmere. Or creating bags to raise funds for Save the Children’s relief efforts in the drought-stricken Turkana region of Kenya. Her philosophy to conserve and repurpose or that quality outshines quantity, “I tell people to buy one good thing of quality, not five cheap things”, is admirable in an industry that flourishes on desirability and consumption.

 

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Nina Bag by Gabriel Hearst

 

 

Baume & Mercier’s, one of Richemont’s eight watch brands, shares the same value and vision of the mindful consumers. Their commitment to the ethical use of natural sources such as diamond and gold, leathers that respect the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and their partnership with NGO 1001 Fontaines & College Champittet to provide access to drinking water in Cambodia, represents this century’s mindset.

 

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According to McKinsey & Company, 70 per cent of consumers are willing to pay some premium for items produced sustainably, based on responses of 90 department store buyers in 25 countries responsible for 50 billion euros in the annual purchase. These figures strongly suggest that investing in sustainable technology to produce quality while helping local communities to thrive from their work will be rewarding for all concerned.  This approach supported with government policies will satisfy the expectations of the subconscious desires and excitement of the consumption, and the result will quench the investor’s appetite.

The customer’s concern over environmental waste, human rights violations or wrongdoings, has impelled the investors to care about the true nature of impacts of luxury brands whether in local communities around the world, within their workforce in bustling cities or on nature since these positions determine the outcome for shareholders.

In 2018, Burberry was named the leading luxury brand in Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The British heritage label explored and implemented socially and environmentally responsible practices from investing in the communities to taking measures to partner with sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse to turn 120 tonnes of wasted leather offcuts into saleable products. It has also obtained 48 per cent of its total energy from renewable sources, an increase of 24 per cent from the previous year. 

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Burberry 

 

Empowering marginalized communities and protecting the planet drive innovation and fosters growth for all inhabitants on earth. It takes courage and moral judgement to initiate positive impact and bring together socially driven enterprises and investors to launch and scale these ventures.  The luxury brands together with social investing funds are responsible to take action and be transparent vis a vis their sustainability initiatives. At the same time, consumers need to start re-thinking their purchasing habits and embody socially-good causes into their decision making. Cultivating the belief that style is a reflection of our attitude, which can be used to make a positive impact and not just an impression, is effortlessly sophisticated. 

Featured image from Harper Bazaar 

Jewellery Inspired by Constellations – Gift Series

Fine jewellery is the best option to mark a milestone. It captures a special moment, serves as wealth security, and its functionality is everlasting.  A self-expressive fashion statement that can be worn to different occasions from job interviews to special moments.

Every week we will introduce our selection of elegant, trendy and unique fine jewellery from around the globe. This week our curation is about mystical and magical symbols in the sky. Elegant collections that remind us that every moment echoes a mystery, a discovery or a logic of our existence in a universe much bigger than us.

Jessie V E symbolic jewellery that evokes emotions and harbours hidden and secret messages while fusing traditional goldsmithing techniques with cutting edge modern technology.

Leo Constellation Earrings - Available in 18kt Yellow, White or Rose gold - Jessie V E
Leo Constellation Earrings – Available in 18kt Yellow, White or Rose gold – Jessie V E
Aquarius Constellation. Available in 18ct Yellow, White or Rose gold - Jessie V E
Aquarius Constellation. Available in 18ct Yellow, White or Rose gold – Jessie V E

 

 

Capricorn Constellation. Available in 18ct Yellow, White or Rose gold - Jessie V E
Capricorn Constellation. Available in 18ct Yellow, White or Rose gold – Jessie V E

 

Saskia Diez: The German-born designer is based in the Munich area, and closely works with local goldsmiths using gold and silver from recycled materials, making her brand local and environmentally-conscious.

Saskia Diez - Zodiac Rings
Saskia Diez – Zodiac Rings

Shahla Karimi: All pieces are hand made in New York City with recycled gold and conflict-free stones. Custom bridal and engagement ring design is available both remotely and in her NYC showroom.

Virgo Ring - In the Zodiac Collection, the stars have been spread 360 degrees so only the wearer knows the reveal of these special cigar bands. Diamonds are flush set in high polished 14K gold. Designed for the pinky, but can be worn on any finger to honor yourself or represent a loved one.
Virgo Ring – In the Zodiac Collection, the stars have been spread 360 degrees so only the wearer knows the reveal of these special cigar bands. Diamonds are flush set in high polished 14K gold. Designed for the pinky, but can be worn on any finger to honour yourself or represent a loved one.
Sagittarius​ Zodiac Ring - the stars have been spread 360 degrees so only the wearer knows the reveal of these special cigar bands. Diamonds are flush set in high polished 14K gold. Designed for the pinky, but can be worn on any finger to honor yourself or represent a loved one.
Sagittarius Zodiac Ring – the stars have been spread 360 degrees so only the wearer knows the reveal of these special cigar bands. Diamonds are flush set in high polished 14K gold. Designed for the pinky, but can be worn on any finger to honour yourself or represent a loved one.

Canadian Connection to Tequila – Interview with Eric Brass, Co-Founder of Tequila Tromba

Eric Brass, Co-Founder of Tequila Tromba
Eric Brass, Co-Founder of Tequila Tromba

Ever since the Nahua tribe tasted the sweet nectar of the blue agave blessed by the goddess Mayahuel, and in time, the spirit became part of Rolling Stones’ hedonistic ways tequila embodies joy and pleasure. Fast forward, this drink has become a refined sipping spirit as consumed in Mexico, and thanks to enterprising individuals such as Eric Brass, indulging in supreme quality has become affordable for everyone.

Eric Brass, the co-founder of Tequila Tromba, partnered with one of the world’s most respected master distillers, Marco Cedano, has created a brand representing formidable pedigree and authenticity, producing boutique crafted batches of high-end tequila. Launched in 2012, Tromba has grown to the #2 premium Tequila in Canada and number #1 in Toronto and has expanded in the prominent tequila and cocktail scene in the US and other parts of the world. A favorite of cocktail sippers and knowledgeable bartenders with a creative mind, Tequila Tromba has a balance of substance and smooth taste.

Eric Brass shares his insights on Tromba’s story, his determination, and how to savor the spirit.

Tequila Tromba - Blanco

Tequila Tromba – BlancoJupilings: How would you describe yourself-

EB:  I’m someone who loves to take the path least followed. I think people too often lean on the conventional paths with the least amount of resistance. These paths offer a lot of comfort and stability, but they also can offer the least amount of reward. I prefer to take an unconventional approach and be involved in the process. More often than not, I’m actively working on growing the business, so you’ll rarely find me sitting for too long.

Jupilings: How did Tequila Tromba start-

EB: I went down to Mexico on exchange with school and fell in love with Tequila. I always had the misconception of Tequila being that terrible shot at that horrible bar at the seedy hour of the night. I tried good tequila for the first time and was amazed.

When I returned to Toronto, I’d preach my new love for Tequila but found no products that spoke to me and my demographic. Most brands were either “cheap and low quality” or were too expensive and personified a bottle service, chest beating, look how much money I’m spending type attitude. There was nothing that spoke to my demographic and me nothing that was authentic and craft with a real story and pedigree behind it that had both substance and style.

Thus the idea of Tromba was born. A product that is authentic, ultra-premium and inclusive.

I had “no business” starting Tromba. I had zero experience in the nightlife, bar or alcohol world, no valuable relationships and no money. I started Tromba on a dream: against all the odds, with a couple of bottles, $10,000 and a backpack.

Tequila Tromba Blanco
Tequila Tromba Blanco

Jupilings: What makes Tequila Tromba different from other Tequila brands-

EB: There isn’t one specific element that makes Tromba different. It’s the complete process. Tromba’s distilling team are Marco and Rodrigo Cedano – father and son duo who have been making tequila their entire lives. Marco was the original master distiller of Don Julio, and Rodrigo was effectively born on the agave fields. Tromba is distiller owned, so it’s really unique that these guys are not only making Tromba but are owning Tromba. We have a rule at Tromba – no gringos in the kitchen which mean every single step of the production process is overseen by Rodrigo and Marco, from the harvesting of the agave, cooking, fermentation and distillation. Marco invokes the old traditional methods of how things have been done while Rodrigo, the younger asks why can’t we do it a new way, adding innovation.  We call it modern craft, and it works.

Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field
Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field

Jupilings: What makes the perfect tequila-

EB: Much like great wine, Tequila has a strong terroir element, which means that the taste of the final product has a lot to do with the soil, climate and terrain that imparts flavour into the blue agave plants.

The craft of production is also a really important element when it comes to creating a great tequila. We age our tequila in Jack Daniels Barrels, which help to create the golden hue of a Reposado and Anejo. Marco and Rodrigo overseeing every step of the production process, and that attention to the small details is what makes Tromba such a great tequila.

In all, there is no such thing as perfect tequila. It’s truly dependent on people’s tastes and personal preference. Tromba’s taste profile is sweet, soft and citrusy which may be perfect to some but not for someone that prefers a more vegetal earthy taste.

Tequila Tromba Distillery
Tequila Tromba Distillery

Jupilings: What are the top tequila myths that need to be debunked-

EB: The idea that you need Salt and Lime to take shots of tequila. The combination is less a pairing and more a tactic to mask the taste of bad quality Tequila.

Another myth is about the worm or scorpion in the bottom of the bottle. The worm is not a mark of quality. Instead, it’s a cheap marketing gimmick for Mezcal, a product similar to tequila, but not made in the Jalisco Highlands, the only area that can legally produce tequila.

Jupilings: What makes tequila a good spirit-

EB: Tequila is one of the healthiest spirits you can consume. Aside from its low calories (69 calories per ounce), there are no refined sugars in tequila. It’s also gluten-free and vegan. To top off the amazing help benefits of tequila, it’s also the only spirit that actually increases endorphins. It’s an upper that increases your mood, rather than making you sleepy.

 Jupilings: What cocktail trends with tequila have impressed you-

EB: I love putting tequila into traditional non Tequila drinks – subbing out gin, vodka etc. for Tequila.  Tromboni (Tequila Negroni), Mexican Mule and Tromba soda are three of my favourites.

Jupilings: What are the most important qualities that are required to be a master distiller-

EB: Being a master distiller is both an art and a science. To make a quality spirit, a master distiller understands the fine balance of patience, the best balance of ingredients and possesses a palate that can discern the good from the exceptional.

Tequila TROMBA - Anejo
Tequila TROMBA – Anejo

Jupilings: Do you have advice for aspiring entrepreneurs to get ahead in your industry-

EB: Passion and persistence are paramount.

Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field
Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field

Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career-

EB: Everything has to revolve around a reason for being and a why you exist.  Once you stray from that and take shortcuts – you are asking for problems.

Jupilings: What are your favourite bars in the world-

EB: Would be like picking my favourite child.

Jupilings: Best piece of advice you’ve been given-

EB: Energy and persistence can conquer almost anything.

Tequila Tromba Agave Field
Tequila Tromba Agave Field

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

EB: Like our motto, you take life by storm. You need to be adaptable to the situation, no matter its highs and lows. Take a moment to step back, evaluate and make a choice based on informed reasons.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

EB: Take life by storm!

Tequila Trombone Anejo
Tequila Trombone Anejo

Interview with Liz Biden, The Renaissance Hotelier

Liz Biden
Liz Biden

Gone are the days when female travel adventurers had to bond her breasts with linen bandages or step into her machismo and disguise as Ferdinand Magellan to explore the wildlands. Mutually, willing to take new chances and cultivate compassion by learning from diversity is not limited to genderless, male, female, or other preferred sexual identities. That being so, experiencing unfamiliar exclusivity is a privilege for an array of individuals and never ceases to be cool.

A luxury traveler embraces uniqueness, recognition, attention, and is motivated to indulge in an unforgettable experience knowing that it will improve the lives of inhabitants of the destinations. South Africa, the oasis of glittering sea, craggy mountains, wildlife encounters, and luxury wellness with a holistic experience offers the sophisticated traveler the opulence of self-reflection and the external splendors of connectivity to the surroundings.

A harmonious blend of nature and luxury
A harmonious blend of nature and luxury
Savour the champagne air...
Savour the champagne air…
The main sitting room at Birkenhead House. The ideal spot to relax and watch the whales go by.
The main sitting room at Birkenhead House. The ideal spot to relax and watch the whales go by.

South Africa is a canvas of spectacular landscapes, best safari destination, a multicultural nation, rainbow cuisine, seductive wines, and notably turbulent history transformed by hope and “ubuntu” qualities of compassion, forgiveness, and humanity to build a just and caring society.

Liz Biden, the renaissance hotelier, is the founder of South Africa’s most luxurious havens. She is the owner of The Royal Portfolio collections of exclusive hotels, lodges, and private residences in South Africa. Her accommodations fulfill the guests’ emotional needs with stimulating design, impeccable service, lavish and thrilling adventures. Her collections reinforce self-actualization and underline respect for local communities. A destination favored by celebrities such as Sir Elton JohnMichael JordanRenée FlemingRichard Gere, and many others shows her hospitality approach is founded on caring and commitment to excellence. An avid supporter of local artists, she has transformed Royal Portfolio hotels and residences into an art gallery displaying some of South Africa’s most well-known artists, including John MeyerBeezy BaileyDeziree SmithShany Van Den BergSasha HartsliefDenby MeyerRicky Dyaloyi and William Kentridge to name but a few.

Mark Williams
Royal Malawane Safari Lodge. Client: The Royal Portfolio. Stylist: Nathalie Williams.

Talk with Liz Biden

Jupilings: What set you off on your entrepreneurial venture-

LB: I began the Royal Portfolio at age fifty when I sold my fashion business. I retired for two days and then made a proposal to my husband that I was going to convert our holiday homes into private hotels. We were very fortunate to have a beautiful place in the African bush. We wanted to share all of our incredible memories and experiences with others, and so we decided to convert our family home into a luxurious lodge which is now Royal Malewane. We then did the same to Birkenhead House which had been our beach house for twelve years, and La Residence which was our smallholding in Franschhoek. We spent many years looking for the perfect spot in Cape Town and were thrilled when the opportunity at The Silo came along. It completed our circuit around South Africa. Since then we haven’t looked back and have continued to share more unique South African experiences with our guests, our friends and our growing family.

The terrace, beautifully lit up in the warmer summer evenings
The terrace, beautifully lit up in the warmer summer evenings

Jupilings:  You style and design every room, what are the elements that you consider when you start the process to create a relaxing and joyful environment-

LB: The ultimate goal is to provide our guests with beautiful, comfortable and exciting interiors. I want our guests to leave with an extremely positive view of our beautiful country and to return home as advocates of South Africa. I love to promote our local creative talent to the international travellers staying at each of our wonderful properties. I like our properties to be timeless and to stay true to the iconic destinations in which they are located. The destination-specific design is a key part of the guest experience. Every room is different, and each space is unique. I first need to get a feel for space – to spend time in the space and watch space and light evolve throughout the day. I tend to start by introducing a piece of furniture, fabric, carpet, or painting into space. Something that I love or that has really caught my eye. One of these items will then guide the subsequent design process, and the room will take shape from there. I love to mix things up – to place something serious next to something fanciful, something new next to something old and something expressive next to something more muted. I also love art. Art is what really brings the space to life and gives it personality. However, for me, the key is the comfort. Our guests need to be able to enjoy space and to feel as if they are at home. Not like they are in a museum.

Vineyard Suite 3 is the favourite of owner Liz Biden.
Vineyard Suite 3 is the favourite of owner Liz Biden.

Jupilings: What does luxury mean to you-

LB: For me, luxury means providing value and superior, personalised service, and creating unique experiences for our guests. Increasingly, guests are looking for special moments to share with their loved ones, and so it’s up to us to create and offer those exceptional experiences at each of our hotels. Luxury means comfort and the opportunity to share breath-taking experiences with family and friends.

Up close and personal with the Big 5 at Royal Malewane, a leading luxury Kruger Park Safari Lodge by the Royal Portfolio
Up close and personal with the Big 5 at Royal Malewane, a leading luxury Kruger Park Safari Lodge by the Royal Portfolio

Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career and ventures-

LB: I believe one of the most important factors in building up and maintaining a successful brand is to consistently engage with it, ensuring that it is nothing but the best it can possibly be. For a luxury travel brand and hotel group, this is particularly important. I try to stay at our properties as much as possible. By being present and experiencing what our guests experience, I can actively ensure that the service and guest experience continues to improve, adapt, and stays consistent throughout our portfolio. Understanding our guests and their needs is critical. Also, I believe that our hotels should constantly evolve and improve – we need fresh ideas to keep things exciting. This could be something as simple as mixing up the artwork in a room or reupholstering a lovely chair with a beautiful new fabric.

The eclectic art in the hotel lobby with several commissioned pieces. Photo by Micky Hoyle for VISI Magazine.
The eclectic art in the hotel lobby with several commissioned pieces. Photo by Micky Hoyle for VISI Magazine.

Jupilings: Please tell us about your Foundation-

LB: Uplifting local communities, promoting conservation and protecting the environment are core company values of The Royal Portfolio. I believe that this is an intrinsic part of doing business in Africa. We’ve just established The Royal Portfolio Foundation which will formally address these core company values and ensure we are doing our part in giving back. Each property has various programmes aimed at uplifting local communities and protecting the environment. Giving back is an intrinsic part of doing business in Africa. It is also essential that we use our properties to promote South Africa as a beautiful destination for travellers to visit from all corners of the world. Tourism has such a positive impact on our country, so it’s important that we market the destination together with our properties.

Sigagule Crèche
Sigagule Crèche
Counter Poaching
Counter Poaching

Jupilings: Is it true that you mostly collect African contemporary art? What is the local art scene currently about? Do you have a personal methodology regarding the selection of the art-

LB: Art has always been something we are interested in and remains a big part of all of The Royal Portfolio’s properties. In keeping with our neighbour, Zeitz MOCAA, The Silo Hotel houses its very own collection of contemporary African art. While a significant portion of the art, furniture and ornaments found throughout our hotels are unique to Africa, I do occasionally source a specific piece from overseas. However, I always prefer to get my inspiration from something I see on my travels and have it made locally – it’s so important that we use local companies and give back to the local communities through supporting various companies and the African art scene. If there’s something that catches my eye and I can picture it in one of our beautiful hotels, I’ll do my best to get my hands on it and support the artist.

An extraordinary art collection adorns the walls of The One Above.
An extraordinary art collection adorns the walls of The One Above.

Jupilings: Best piece of advice you’ve been given- 

LB: If you’re looking to get into the tourism industry, it’s best to get your foot in the door somehow and then do your best to meet and connect with people in the industry to build long-lasting, healthy relationships.

Executive Chef Lennard Marais delighting guests at The Chef's Table.
Executive Chef Lennard Marais delighting guests at The Chef’s Table.

Jupilings: Please share five tips to tap into one’s potential to achieve one’s career or entrepreneurial aspirations-

LB: Find your passion and run with it! Don’t let anyone tell you your passion is not worthy of chasing. Your passion is yours, own it.  Be true to yourself, and create something that is authentic to your passions. Follow your dreams, and the rest will fall into place. Perseverance is key! Nothing will ever be easy, and there will always be hardships and downfalls. If you can stay optimistic in the face of failure, you will continue to learn and refine your entrepreneurial finesse.  It’s also fine if you don’t know what you want to do, or what your passion is. What matters is that you start working on something, and keep moving forward. Grab every opportunity that comes your way, and you’ll be amazed and what you’ll learn. Try not to focus on the end goal in mind too much, or to have a rigid plan. Stay fluid in your outcome and be open to change and suggestions. In today’s world it’s important to be adaptable and to be able to pivot in a new direction should the need arise. That doesn’t mean you should give up on your goals when things get difficult; it just means you need to be able to adapt and nurture a propensity to stay proactive in your entrepreneurial journey. Don’t become bogged down or despondent when things don’t go according to plan!

The peaceful study area in the extraordinary bedroom of The Silo Hotel penthouse overlooks Lion's Head and Signal Hill
The peaceful study area in the extraordinary bedroom of The Silo Hotel penthouse overlooks Lion’s Head and Signal Hill

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

LB: I believe that every cloud has a silver lining and I always look at what I can learn from the setback. If I’m feeling let down about a setback, I always try reason that it’s not so bad. That I am such a lucky person and need to carry on moving forward.

Jupilings: Who inspires you and why-

LB: Nature. The colours, sounds, textures and abundance of life are so inspirational.

Bright splashes of green and pink in the living area of Vineyard Suite 1
Bright splashes of green and pink in the living area of Vineyard Suite 1

Jupilings: What does it mean to be a woman today-

LB: Increasingly so, women around the world are moving into high powered positions. Many women in the Western World now have great freedoms which I hope will soon permeate into every corner of our world.

Jupilings: What is your life motto:

LB: Life is an incredible, beautiful gift, and one that you should make the most of every day.

Afternoon tea at the main lodge at Royal Malewane.
Afternoon tea at the main lodge at Royal Malewane.
The entrance to the main lodge
The entrance to the main lodge

Images courtesy of Royal Portfolio

Stone Paris Fine Jewellery-Interview with Marie Poniatowski

French designers have long created the most stylistically elegant and innovative brands. This outstanding reputation has been originated by the 17th-century French monarch Louis XIV and his shrewd minister of finance, Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The Sun King had an eye for fashion and, with the help of Colbert, as the latter famously indicated: “fashions were to France what the mines of Peru were to Spain;  Louis XIV established France as the leading luxury and chic fashion capital of the world.

The French way of luxury attire, accessories, and living has evolved from the elaborate fashion of the 17th-century to cool and effortlessly elegant style. Defined by “I woke up like this” attitude, the French design allows the individual to shine with a hint of playfulness. The Stone Paris fine jewelry has this quality ingrained in its DNA. Founded by Marie Poniatowski, a Parisian from a high nobility family whose origins go back to the 15th century admiringly creates sensual and modern jewelry adorned with romanticism.

Marie Poniatowski - Stone Paris Jewellery
Marie Poniatowski – Stone Paris Jewellery

Her collection is for the brave who is not afraid of the stigma of being emotionally tender, but the one that graciously asserts, ” I am the beloved who chooses to abide or break the rules. The wearer is attentive to detail, gentle in nature, and connoisseur of timeless elegance. As for the androgynous pieces of Stone Paris’s fine jewelry, a touch of royal rebellion that screams rocker-chic will transform your style delicately.

 

Romeo et Juliette montage chaine - Stone Paris Jewellery
Romeo et Juliette montage chaine – Stone Paris Jewellery

Interview with Marie Poniatowski:

Jupilings: How do you describe yourself-

MP: I’m an entrepreneur; I design fine jewelry for Stone Paris, the brand I founded 14 years ago. I live in Paris with my husband and daughter. I’m very straightforward, so I always tell it like it is! Moreover, while I create luxurious accessories, I’m very casual, and my favorite thing is to be with my family and friends in my country house outside of the city.

Décor boutique Stone Paris Jewellery
Décor boutique Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What set you on this path of designing jewelry- 

MP: I used to work in the movie industry, but when I had my daughter, I wanted to make a career change to have a more “conventional” schedule. Entirely by chance, after a trip to New York City, I realized there were no fine jewelry designers in France apart from Place Vendôme… So in 2004, I decided to create an accessible, yet precious jewelry line that a woman could afford to buy herself and wear every day.

Jupilings: What are the principles in lifestyle that you want to manifest in your brand 

MP: Be yourself and be comfortable in your skin. That’s why I try to design pieces for everyday wear, the thinnest and lightest possible, so you don’t even feel them.

Yasmine bagues - Stone Paris Jewellery
Yasmine bagues – Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What does elegant design mean to you

MP: I think elegance is very subjective, fortunately not everyone has the same taste! However, to me, it is about sobriety and subtlety. I will not be the most elegant wearing heels and a gown because I won’t be comfortable. I would feel more elegant with a white shirt and a pair of jeans. Maybe it’s because I’m French… Less is more!

Cry Me A River Collier Or rose et diamants - Stone Paris Jewellery
Cry Me A River Collier Or rose et diamants – Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What does luxury mean to you

MP: In my opinion, Luxury has nothing to do with materialistic things. It’s being able to do something I love for a living, enjoying going to the office every day, working with an amazing team, it’s priceless…

Stone Paris Jewellery
Blood Diamonds – Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What is the favorite aspect of your business

MP: My favorite part is the design, especially after sending out the drawings when we receive the first sample and I get to see my creation take shape. Sometimes it surpasses my expectations; sometimes it’s disappointing, so I have to rethink the whole thing, anyway it’s always exhilarating.

Stone Paris Jewellery
Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What is the hardest part of your business

MP: The hardest is probably the administrative part, just because I don’t really like numbers and paperwork, so I have to be twice as serious about it.

Jupilings: What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have

MP: My only ritual is to gather the whole team for a big brainstorm before starting a new collection. I like having their feedback on the previous one, and their feeling of what customers want, or what they think the brand is lacking. I work very closely with my team, and I like taking the time to discuss it with them, it’s good to make some distance to look at the big picture.

Stone Paris Jewellery
Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: The best piece of advice you’ve been given

MP: It’s not really advice, but how my parents taught me to be humble, respectful and hard-working, that’s what I try to pass on to my daughter.

Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career and ventures

MP: Social media… It’s vital for a brand now, but it’s challenging for me because as a designer brand, people are interested in me and my life while I am not particularly eager to put myself forward. I try to get better at it, and I’m lucky to have great people helping me with that.

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks

MP: I used to be very stressed out and spend sleepless nights when there was a problem. Now I have grown, I deal with setbacks more peacefully. It’s better to avoid panic, stay calm, and positive to find the best solution for the business.

Jupilings: Who inspires you and why

MP: I’m very inspired by women like Simone Veil who fight for women’s rights. I am so thankful for women like her who are willing to be pioneers and set an example for generations to come.

Jupilings: What does it mean to be a woman today

MP: Women have to multi-task today; we have to be wives, mothers, businesswomen all at the same time. I think it can be challenging to juggle with everything, more than it is for men. Today I feel we are more aware of that and how important it is to support each other as women.

Bague Tess - Stone Paris Jewellery
Bague Tess – Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor

MP: Karen Blixen in Out of Africa. It’s one of my favorite movies, and I have so much admiration for her. Living such an adventurous life in such freedom is amazing to me.

Jupilings: What is your life motto

MP: Living in the moment, not being too nostalgic about the past, and not worrying too much about the future.

How To Creatively Communicate Your Brand Promise

People are drawn to the luxury industry for different motives. The traditional luxury ambassadors hold on to the ephemeral feelings driven by the narratives touching on superiority and pride. Then again, the experience hunters are seeking personal connections in the brand’s promise to unleash their dreams. Last but not least, the hip netizens who are fuelling the luxury space are powered by stories and the purpose of the brand. They have leaped over from “what I have” attitude to the sphere of “Being.”  More and more, the mindset is about  “who I truly am” & “what I stand for.”  They want to be rewarded by the legacy, the qualitative experience and most importantly the echo of self-identity.

With this mindset, the brand promise matters more than ever. From everyday luxury such as Starbucks to super premium brand SilverSea Cruise line or ultra high-end brands such as Graff, desires are stimulated by the strength, the reputation and the feelings tied up to the brand promise. Once developed and channeled into multimedia storytelling, the narrative must resonate with the personal branding of the luxury aficionados whether the futurists, rebels, individuality seekers or vanity driven groups. It should evoke an identity aligned with self-perception and aspiration of the customers.

Starbucks brand promise: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

SilverSea brand promise: Silversea’s small luxury ships are designed for those who delight in the thrill of discovery while indulging mind and body in the most lavish surroundings imaginable.

Graff brand promise: “The House of Graff stands for the finest, the rarest and only the very best stones.”

Recounting the brand promise is more than touching off swagger or reality-distortion but skillfully emulating personal achievements, memories, and traits. A compelling narrative taps into the subconscious reveals the not so perfect identities and connects with weird fantasies with no judgment. Interpretation of brand promise through unexpected whimsical campaigns to the unassuming rebellious image is all about keeping it “real.”

Here are some suggestions on how to bring your luxury brand promise to life and connect with the expressions of identities:

  • Observe many types of consumption to adapt the content. The how and where your audience garners and shares their personal information.
  • Feature desirable qualities even so with an honest portrayal of human behaviours and circumstances. Tiffany, the premier jeweller, designed the window displays of its 5th Avenue, in tribute to New York’s graffiti culture while adding a gutsy attitude insinuating that things can happen in real life.Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 12.29.01 PM
  • Illustrate the concept of “who I am” and “what I stand for.” Luxury fitness brand Equinox voice not only a healthy luxury lifestyle but what gives meaning to life and what succinctly defines their customers.

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  • Create stories that forge emotional connections and exhibit meaningful outcomes. Rolex tell a story campaign” features excellence, history, perfection and keeps us engaged by relaying it’s ambassadors experiences and testimonials.  Oscar-winning director James Cameron in a press release about the brand’s Academy Awards sponsorship said “A Rolex is not only a beautiful watch and a masterpiece of engineering, it’s very tough. It’s a watch that you can take into any environment and which can stand up to the pressure. So, what you’re saying subliminally to the audience is: that character can take the pressure, too; he or she has what it takes.”
  • Define the characteristics of your brand and align them with your storytelling. The unapologetic authenticity in the brand’s narrative is appealing and strengthens bonding between the brand and it’s customers. Tom Ford’s Limited Edition F*cking Fabulous fragrance branding, is a perfect example of blunt authenticity of the brand and Tom Ford’s edgy spirit.

Leveraging narrative to construct and associate values to the self-concept of the consumers needs to meet the expectations, perceptions and most importantly it must be consistent with your brand promise.

Modern Luxury – Trends in Branding

The new modern luxury roars freedom, flexibility, and eccentricity.  The collaboration of stylish streetwear with luxury brands, genderless approach, quirky brand images and the flair of uniqueness rattles the traditions.  As our planet moves towards positive partnerships and collaborative sentiments to create flourishing communities, the luxury style is powered by acceptance, inclusion, affiliation, and sustainability.

Gucci - The new men’s Tailoring campaign features Dapper Dan, the Harlem couturier renowned for the custom designs he created for celebrities, athletes and hip-hop artists in the 80s and early 90s.
Gucci – The new men’s Tailoring campaign features Dapper Dan, the Harlem couturier renowned for the custom designs he created for celebrities, athletes and hip-hop artists in the 80s and early 90s.

Undeniably the luxury lifestyle is being emblazoned by street art & fashion, sportswear brands, social and political uncertainties, technology and personal sentiments.  The acceptance of this cultural shift, influenced by emerging designers that have been brought up by the influence of Hip Hop and Rap culture and conspicuously merge authenticity with creativity is apparent throughout luxury brands. At the same time, the majority of growth in this particular market is driven by the change in wealth distribution and the shift in consumption of luxury goods by affluent millennials.  As for the luxury industry, it’s attempt to be relevant and represent this mindset demands adventurous creativity and savvy business approach.

F is for... Campaign:  Six super street legends, got together and wrote the word FUTURE in six different languages inside a giant yellow ring. To spread a mega positive vibe across Rome and beyond, breaking all barriers for a fearless future for all the freaks around! Image by Frendi
F is for… Campaign: Six super street legends, got together and wrote the word FUTURE in six different languages inside a giant yellow ring. To spread a mega positive vibe across Rome and beyond, breaking all barriers for a fearless future for all the freaks around! Image by Frendi

The zeitgeist of our times values unexpected collaborations and distance itself from flying solo. This particular trend has been successful to motivate the affluent millennials.  To engage and consume the intangible image created by luxury life and style is about seduction to the extent that the sense of belonging and acceptance in this particular community is not an option but essential. This idea might appear two-dimensional; however, the underpinning notion of blurring the hierarchy lines between different brands in its way is the language of progress and social inclusion. Distancing from the old styles and introducing fresh attitudes bring brand awareness to a diverse audience.

In 2017, Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Supreme is undeniably an endorsement of inclusion. Supreme has all the elements of a valuable affiliation due to it’s young demographic, genderless designs and limited editions.  Consumers from different realms of taste, behaviours and dress codes where brought together by their shared interest in fashion honouring their differences.  Together the two brands created a tribal affiliation and an exclusivity hype resulting in a sold-out experience.

Supreme X Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2017
Supreme X Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2017

Another good example is the collaboration between the luxury fashion house Gucci and Spanish artist Ignasi Monreal. For the past few years, Gucci has appealed and secured an affiliation to millennials thanks to their design evolution and remarkable online presence. Their narrative illustrates mythical and surreal universes and underlines quality and uniqueness of their brand.  The combination is Super Cool!

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Having social-conscious values and adopting responsible environmental practices add the desirability quality to the luxury brands. They need to take a principled stand to gain favour among the millennials, the growing segment of the premium consumer market. Cultural diversity, labor practices, philanthropy or environmentally conscious lifestyles foster respect among the customers.

For instance, delving into luxury hotels, the ultra-exclusive Nekupe Sporting Resort & Retreat, built by the American Nicaragua Fund, is an innovative way that offers high-end luxury experience. The ANF, founded by Alfredo and Theresa Pellas, a wealthy family that believes in creating opportunities, self-sufficiency, and dignity for the poorest sectors of the population through the partnership model. They have reforested their 1,300 acres by planting more than 14,000 trees, hoping to restore natural habitat, increase local employment and their income. The ANF has contributed to well being of villages by building homes, creating access to health care, education and water management solutions. An Eco-Friendly resort that offers luxury experience with a clear conscious.

 

Nekupe Resort
Nekupe Resort

 

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Last but not least, enabling consumers to live a lifestyle true to themselves and being responsible towards community are the pillars of a brand’s authenticity.  Successful representation of the authentic perception of your core values to technology savvy consumers involves meaningful digital narratives as well as offering instant gratification through mobile and e-commerce.

 

How to Create Your Ideal Lifestyle

Believe in your heart that you’re meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles.”

Living your ideal lifestyle involves how you feed your personality traits and tendencies. Are you nurturing your positive disposition in life or shifting towards negativity? What are your world-views or how do you perceive your self-image? Prior to answering these questions, we must understand that there is a clear distinction between our responses to certain situation which will dictate our moods or emotions and our dispositional affect. Which translates into personality traits. Bear in mind that the intensity of our emotions is directly related to our mentality.

Ulysse Nardine
Ulysse Nardine

Individuals who have tendencies towards positive attitudes are innovative and creative. They will make better decisions in dealing with important situations or negotiate in a cooperative state of mind. Having an optimistic view is not to be mindless of dangers or uncertainties but to plan efficiently and be willing to be flexible in one’s activities.

Bathke Bespoke
Bathke Bespoke

There is no influence like the influence of habit

The energy you inject into your mental focus steer your direction in life. To increase the likelihood of achieving your goals, you need to squash the unproductive thoughts and habits. By practicing awareness you can catch the negativity monster and toss it out of your mind. Figuratively speaking create an image of the unwanted thought as the most despicable entity and breathe it out of your system. Or as once a spiritual Master in a Buddhist Temple advised, close your eyes, imagine a divine or a peaceful source that generates red light unto you. Inhale the light through your nose deep into your being and exhale the black smoke out of your mouth. Repeat nine times and then change the colour of the red light to an angelic hue while you continue your breathing exercise.

NEW CONTINENTAL GT - Bentley Motors
NEW CONTINENTAL GT – Bentley Motors

Replacing habits that impede your progress towards your desired lifestyle can be replaced by vibrant and useful traits. Reminding yourself about the purpose of your endeavour, breaking down the general statement of change in patterns of behaviour to specific and practical actions or conducts, strengthens your efforts to reach your goals.

Italian artist Millo Mural Painting
Italian artist Millo Mural Painting

The Universe is change, our life is what our thoughts make it. Marcus Aurelius

Ultimate Boardroom in the Sky - Boeing (AV Planners)
Ultimate Boardroom in the Sky – Boeing (AV Planners)

An architect has a vision and a goal. He investigates, sketches, designs, includes details, develops, considers support team and tools, administers and observes the process to completion. Just like an architect, our abstract or concrete hopes and lifestyle are attainable if we consciously attract what we want and positively take part in polishing our behaviours to shine.

Ultimately,  progress and self-development is never-ending and that is why life is worth living in Style!

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