Sunday, May 22, 2016

Does Borrowed Bling Bother You?

Naomi Watts in a Bulgari necklace at Cannes 2016. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain.

There is an interesting article over at The New York Times called “When It Comes to Red-Carpet Jewelry, ‘Elegance Is Refusal’” by Bronwyn Cosgrave, about all the high jewelry at the Cannes Film Festival. A captioned photo of Elizabeth Taylor at Cannes in 1957 in her diamond tiara, and other gems, claims it was her showing up dressed this way that helped usher in the idea that Cannes was all about high-wattage glamour. The opening paragraph too, posits that the story of Liz swimming in a pool in Cap Ferrat wearing this tiara when hubby Mike Todd presented her with a magnificent Cartier ruby and diamond parure, was instrumental in burnishing the idea that the Cannes Film Festival meant jewels, the bigger the better. (For a recap of Liz receiving this Cartier set, in her own words, click here.)

Liz at Cannes in 1957. Photo by Ullsten Bild/Getty Images.

French fashion editor/stylist Carine Roitfeld says she doesn’t like that the actresses who show up on the red carpet at Cannes are paid to wear such big jewelry. I don’t mind that so much. I’d do it too, if I were, say, Naomi Watts, above, so resplendent recently in an Armani PrivĂ© gown and Bulgari jewels. And it was interesting to read about the various personal pieces owned by Ms. Roitfeld and other stylists. I would expect those gals to wear their own jewelry, why would they be in borrowed finery? They are the stylists! Most people don’t even know their names, let alone what they look like. It seems to me that the publicity garnered by their wearing jewelry from the big houses would be wasted (in my very humble opinion). I think the most famous stylist in the world is probably still Rachel Zoe (and I bet she owns the jewelry she wears).

What I thought was a more ridiculous premise was pointing out that Rooney Mara wore little or no jewelry during awards season this year—is the writer trying to suggest that jewelry-shunning Rooney is a purer person than the ladies (like Cate Blanchett!) who wore big gems on loan from the big houses? Does that mean, in addition to opting for no jewelry, Rooney also bought the Givenchy dress she wore to the Oscars? I bet not! (If she did, let me know in the comments, and I will stand corrected.)

Cate & Rooney at the 2016 Oscars. AFP Photo.

I realize that all red carpet dressing is a fantasy so I expect it to be borrowed—the gowns, the jewels, the bags, the shoes, even the dates! If the actresses get paid to wear it too, I say, Why not? If it weren’t for red carpet dressing, most of us would never get to experience, in any format, the pleasure of seeing the most beautifully designed and crafted jewelry pieces on the planet. I don’t know about you, but the thrill of that never gets old to me. It is wonderful to see what such talented jewelry designers, from any house, in any decade, were able to dream up and create. The fun is enhanced by seeing these amazing jewels worn by the lovely actresses we recognize from stage and screen.

If actresses want to add their own jewelry to their red carpet look I’m all for it, but let’s face it, can you name one actress who actually owns even one piece of jewelry we ever see? The only one I can think of is Jennifer Tilly. If she ever comes back to the Oscars I beg her to wear her glorious Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. brooch, seen below. (Liz also owned the same brooch, btw, and Jennifer tried to win it at auction and was unsuccessful. She found the one she does own at a different auction and spent $80,000 on it.) If you know of actresses who turn up wearing their own gems, please let me know!

Jennifer Tilly in Crazy About Tiffany’s. She owns that stunning Schlumberger for Tiffany brooch she wears!

Until there are more ladies like Jennifer, who has a true passion for jewelry (like Liz) and wears stunning creations from her personal collection, I vote that the red carpet stays awash in borrowed bling. Don’t you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!


Babycakes said...

I believe you're absolutely right!

Jill said...

Hi Babycakes, thanks for the comment. I am now thinking I am a little too passionate on the subject. I just love seeing the beautiful jewels on the red carpet, from Hollywood to Cannes, and Bronwyn's article notwithstanding, I know that trend will continue. It's big business now. xx

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

I will try and keep this short but I have to say that I was shaking my head when reading the article.

First, I think it is a bit rich of Carine Roitfeld and one of the many reasons why she "left" as editor of French Vogue is having a tone of condescension to those who borrow items.

I also didn't like the very attempted but failed tone of the writer as well.

Why is this even an issue in that circle?

Does Vogue buy the outfits they feature in the editorials? Do they even pay minimum wage for models for that matter? No and no.

I personally don't borrow items except from my mother but that's me and I won't question if someone else does. The borrowing in real life brings up other issues but in this instance, where else are you supposed to model fabulous jewelled works of art?

I mean many people in the industry don't pay for a damn thing including facials and detoxes. When I was at the Mayr - all of the editors and journalists were comped their time there so I feel this is a bit rich if you ask me!

HappyFace313 said...

:-) I wish there were more people out there wearing their own jewels, like Liz Taylor used to do. But then I again I think men have changed and there are not as many out there showering their lovely ladies in jewelry. Too bad!

When I see how Chopard sponsors the Cannes Film Festival and the amounts of jewelry that they give actresses and other VIP's on loan I always wonder who buy them in the end? And is that really beneficial for them (Chopard)?. Mhm.

If I were a famous actress I wouldn't mind wearing some beautiful jewelry either. So I'm always happy to see them on your blog, dear Jill! Keeping my eyes open for more.

Have a lovely Sunday.
Big hug from Vienna,

xo :-)

Michelle- Data in the Rough said...

Another great perspective on this event. My only argument against the loaning is the actresses getting paid. I think that makes it harder for smaller, talented designers with less capital to break into these events. To be paid to wear jewelry what a dream but ultimately I would find it hard to give back!

PinkCheetahVintage said...

It would be hard to afford all the jewelry if you didn't borrow it. I'm all for borrowing stuff for big nights out!!!

Jill said...

Hi Naomi, I am SO glad you weighed in on this topic. I did not even think about the Vogue borrowing, but of course that's all they do and I do think there is a quid pro quo for that editorial space designers get. I am especially with you regarding the tone of the article. I had to read it more than once because I thought, Did I miss something? It was all over the place. I don't know what actresses borrowing or getting paid to wear pieces on the red carpet has to do with Carine's jewelry box or the other stylists mentioned, who I have never heard of before. And it's pretty crazy for Carine to get huffy about people getting paid to wear things since I bet her closet is pretty full of clothing, shoes, accessories, etc., that were gifted to her, by her friends in the industry! xx

Jill said...

Hi Claudia, you bring up an interesting point--maybe men's gift giving ways have changed. I don't know. I do think more women are just buying their own jewelry. I wish more actresses were into owning high jewelry but from what I can tell, it seems to be only Jennifer Tilly. I have no problem with Chopard sponsoring the Cannes festival. I just want to see the pieces in action, I don't even feel the need to own them, they are just lovely to look at on the big nights! However, when it comes to tapping into my own jewelry funds I am not so into diamonds (which Chopard probably does not want to hear), I really do prefer colored gemstones! xx

Jill said...

Hi Michelle, thank you so much for weighing in, you bring up an important point! How is a smaller designer supposed to break onto the red carpet if they have to pay an actress to wear their designs?!? I hope the stylists can sway that trend more in the direction of the younger design talent and talk a younger actress into not getting paid but garnering press for both herself and the designer. Wouldn't that be amazing? I think it would actually make the red carpet even more interesting. The last new designer I discovered on the red carpet is Anna Hu (on Naomi Watts) and now I am a big fan of hers. xx

Jill said...

Hi Becky! Wouldn't it be amazing if us mere mortals could borrow something from one of the big houses for a night? I'd be happy to take a security guard with me all night just for the experience (hope they'd send a cute one)! I think most of the actresses don't give a hoot about big gems like Liz did so for them I understand why they borrow everything (at the behest of their stylists) but oh what fun it would be to see Jennifer Tilly hit the red carpet in her Schlumberger brooch or the Bulgari brooch she WAS able to buy from the Liz auction (for over a million, I believe)! xx

Denton said...

I'm sure actresses and others own jewelry, but maybe not to that level. And of course they would be expected not to own just a beautiful necklace and earring set, but several (they can't be seen wearing the same pieces every week, can they?) Think about the practicalities. You have to insure it, and you have to keep it (generally) in a safe deposit box or other secure facility. You have to retrieve it and put it back. Just so much easier to borrow from someone who will loan it out.

Jill said...

Hi Denton, thank you for weighing in! I agree with you on many points but honestly, if I got to see Jennifer Tilly wearing her Schlumberger brooch on week one and then she switched to her Bulgari brooch (that she bought at the Liz auction) on week two, and then I got to see those pieces regularly after that, I would be so happy ha ha! I agree that it is easier to get pieces on loan and I am glad that that trend will continue, no matter what Carine Roitfeld thinks. But I sure would love to see an actress who wore a few of her own very significant pieces regularly. I thought of Ellen Barkin the other day, she had a stunning collection too, but she sold most of it! I did read in Daphne Guinness's book that she thinks big pieces are for every day, not to be kept in a safety deposit box. God I love her for that. Maybe I will do a post. I know she's not an actress but she owns some major vintage jewelry and knows how to wear it too! Have you seen her out and about in the city? I hope you are enjoying the fantastic weather! xx

Jenna said...

I think the main issue is that when many people look at actors or actresses, they assume that they own or like whatever they are wearing. They may not think of the politics behind it or quid pro quo. Instead, their views of the items are swayed by what may be false conceptions.