While Chaumet has never really lacked recognition, it has decided to step things up a notch. In marketing jargon, this is called “enhancing desirability” or “profile-raising”. And while the public at large is not particularly bothered with such internal backstage subtleties, it will nonetheless witness the effects on the front-stage, with a brand that is now clearly focusing on three worlds: the court, the heart and the garden.
An historical triptych
These three worlds will now encompass not only the current Chaumet collections, but also the historical heritage that has preceded them. As far as the court is concerned, the Maison will now place the emphasis on Empress Josephine and her unique ties with Chaumet. Above and beyond the public figure, the Maison intends to focus on the private nature of the woman who became the first major client of Marie-Etienne Nitot, founder of Chaumet in 1780. It was for Josephine, who was crowned empress on December 2nd 1804, that Chaumet created the supremely fashionable head jewellery imbued with deep feelings that the Emperor gifted to his “lucky star”.
As far as the heart is concerned, the Maison will be extending its Liens watch collection that currently comprises a dozen or so references and which signalled Chaumet’s grand return to the scene of ladies’ watches designed for contemporary daily living.
Finally, the jewellery excellence cultivated at 12 Place Vendôme will be expressed through the garden theme. From Hortensia to Attrape-Moi si tu m’aimes, along with elaborately gem-set and complicated models issued in strictly limited series, this array of nature-inspired models is now assembled to ensure a more consistent approach.
An ephemeral museum on Place Vendôme
A new museum is now showcasing this strategy on Place Vendôme. Chaumet is the only brand to possess its very own entire urban mansion there, whereas the others mostly merely rent the premises. To physically embody its triptych (court, heart, garden), the Maison has diverted part of its sales area to provide space for a museum. In concrete terms, this means that Chaumet now dedicates the left-hand side of its entrance to its boutique, and the right-hand side to its museum: a powerful symbol of the new corporate strategy and of the balance it intends to maintain between its heritage and its current existence.
The word ‘ephemeral’ in no way applies to the location itself (and the term ‘pop-up’ would be even less appropriate), since it will remain permanently assigned to its role as a museum. Only the collections will be making fleeting appearances there, for a maximum of six months devoted to a given theme. The first, titled “Promenade bucolique” (Bucolic Stroll), is opening this month. As its name implies, the goal is to highlight the garden side of Chaumet, the third brand pillar. And like its entrance on Place Vendôme, Chaumet is presenting there in equal measure its past (17 historical models) and its present (13 contemporary models), including a subtly calculated proportion of jewellery and watchmaking.
When all is said and done, the new face of Chaumet is not a revolution, but will be delving even further back into its history, even more deeply into its art of design, watchmaking and jewellery, while inviting customers to move freely through these areas – no longer according to the products themselves, but rather in step with the worlds to which they belong. The approach itself is not new, but few Maisons can hope to undertake such an exercise with the relevance and creative power of Chaumet, founded in 1780.