And because high jewelry is the essence of couture, de Castellane and Chiuri gave the event an original twist: a lineup of 40 couture pieces designed by the creative director of Dior women’s collections specifically for this occasion. These, too, were available for purchase. “It was all about furthering a dialogue,” de Castellane explained. “Showing jewelry on the couture runway in Paris is just unfeasible: the models walk too fast; you can’t take a closer look. As this is a completely different format, combining jewelry and couture works.”
During cocktail hour, white and ecru peplum gowns acted as a foil for high-wattage pieces from earlier collections like Gem Dior, Galons Dior, and Rose Dior. Later, on the runway, Dior Print jewels accessorized 30 looks, with diamond brooches winking on the lapel of a velvet Bar jacket, or shimmering alongside a bustier dress with guipure-like embroidery.
Sororal collaboration aside, Beccari said that this format of presentation was a sign of things to come. Under his watch, Dior has leveled up its jewelry game, expanding the size and number of collections and investing “hundreds of millions” in gemstones. To wit, when 30 Montaigne opened this spring, a loose 88.88-carat yellow diamond was placed in a window display; within three days it had sold for $15 million. Its new owner is having the stone mounted in a bespoke design by de Castellane.
In Taormina, an array of other loose gems, among them a nearly 22-carat Sri Lankan sapphire and a 25-plus carat Tanzanian spinel, drove that point home. The headliner, a 101-carat D flawless Asscher-cut diamond, was represented only in replica. The original, Beccari said, was secreted away in a safe—though he was willing to bet that it would find a buyer this year. Its price: north of $40 million. “We’re now in the major leagues on incredible stones,” Beccari said. “We’re here to make the heritage jewelers nervous.”