70 years of Cannes Film Festival and the beloved event continues to shine bright with industry glitterati celebrating film, fashion and all things fabulous, in gems so exquisite we can’t look away. And when we talk gems, it’s hard to miss the glorious jewellery and timepieces by de GRISOGONO, Swiss luxury brand founded by Lebanese-Italian designer Fawaz Gruosi, sported by a bevy of beauties, one Cannes red carpet after another.
de GRISOGONO has spent 16 years making a mark at the festival, both as part of the Cannes jewellery showcase and host to a star-studded annual party, and it’s clear Gruosi has his eyes on making the brand the ultimate face of luxury. Bazaar sits down with diamond dynamo Gruosi on the terrace of Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez, taking in breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and talking about what makes de GRISOGONO a festival and fraternity favourite.
Harper's Bazaar Arabia: What’s your favourite gemstone and why?
Fawaz Gruosi: I love emeralds. They are my good luck charm. I particularly love the colour of the sea in Sardinia, where I like to spend the summer. It is a combination of different shades of blue and green, and turquoise, which are reflected in bright emeralds.
de GRISOGONO High Jewellery bracelet
HBA: Where do you draw inspiration from for each collection, particularly your latest red carpet collection displayed here?
FG: Inspiration comes from whatever surrounds me – the shape of an object, a painting I see in a gallery or the way the light reflects in a woman’s hair – anything and everything, really. Often, I fall in love with a gemstone and design around it like a sculpture. One particular set from this [sic] collection is inspired by the colours of fall in Tuscany. Warm and intense browns and oranges reflected in the brown diamonds and sapphires composing this [sic] earrings and bracelet pair.
HBA: What are your favourite pieces from the red carpet collection?
FG: This is a very tough question. My creations are like my children. It’s impossible for me to choose a favourite.
HBA: What is your favourite look from the red carpet this year and why?
FG: It’s hard to say, we’ve had the pleasure of dressing several beautiful women throughout this festival. Chinese top model Ming Xi, who I’ve walked the steps with at the opening, was definitely one of my favourites this year. She carried off our pieces with incredible grace.
Fawaz Gruosi and Ming Xi on the red carpet
HBA: Which Middle Eastern celebrity sports your jewels best?
FG: This year, we had the pleasure of having Haifa Wehbe join us for our 'Love on the Rocks' dinner party and wearing our jewellery.
HBA: Tell us more about the annual de GRISOGONO party at Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc. How does this year's ‘Love on the Rocks’ theme relate to your latest collection?
FG: Big rocks and the turquoise of the famous Eden Roc pool are reflected in this collection. I often completely fall in love with certain gemstones and diamonds. This new high jewellery collection is also a declaration of love to Cannes and the women who inspire me.
Fawaz Gruosi and Naomi Campbell at de GRISOGONO's Love on the Rocks party, Cannes Film Festival 2017
HBA: What’s the most memorable moment for you from the years you’ve attended and showcased during the festival?
FG: Every year has special moments. This year, one of my favourite memories was my car ride with Rita Ora to the Montée des Marches. She made me laugh so hard. She is such a talented, kind and energetic soul. We also had the pleasure of having her for a private concert on the terrace of our Martinez showroom this year.
HBA: Who was the first celebrity you dressed for Cannes?
FG: Beautiful Milla Jovovich was one of the first top models to attend our Cannes event, about 15 year ago. She has become a dear friend of the brand and still joins us whenever she can.
HBA: How have your Middle Eastern clientele received the collection this year?
FG: From my experience, our Middle Eastern clients particularly love colourful stones. They were quite smitten by our new high jewellery creations.
HBA: From popularising the once undervalued black diamond, to acquiring the world’s most valuable 404 carat 4 De Fevereiro and 813 carat Constellation, how do you feel about these milestones?
FG: Both rough diamond acquisitions are key milestones in our brand’s story – never before has a jewellery brand acquired such historical rough diamonds within the same year, much less a brand that is less than 25 years old. I am really proud of where we are going.
HBA: How do you think Middle Eastern buyers will respond to these "hidden treasures"?
FG: I'm absolutely confident about the enduring appeal of historic diamonds and pieces of highest craftsmanship and design. At de GRISOGONO, we aren’t merely selling these exceptional stones but also inventing a new, surprising and innovative ultra high jewellery language.
HBA: Who has been your most special guest since your first year in Cannes?
FG: Sharon Stone. My creations are inspired by self-confident, radiant women with strong personalities. Sharon is the perfect embodiment of these values. Hosting Naomi Campbell is also always a highlight. She joined us at our Love on the Rocks event last night.
Sharon Stone in de GRISOGONO jewels at Cannes Film Festival 2014
HBA: What is your favourite film at the festival so far?
FG: Wind River, it’s a great movie by Taylor Sheridan. In fact, we hosted a special cocktail for the screening of the movie a few days ago at our Martinez showroom. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen [film’s cast] are extremely talented.
As told to Lisa Rokny