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PARIS – Louis Vuitton is expanding its fine jewelry offering with “Les Gastons Vuitton,” an 18-piece collection with a masculine feel that celebrates Gaston-Louis Vuitton, the grandson of the house founder.

The new line is articulated around three personality traits of this “interesting character and was not talked about very much,” Francesca Amfitheatrof, artistic director watches and jewelry at Louis Vuitton, told WWD.

Born in 1883, he is best remembered as an erudite inventor, cultural magpie and keen collector whose personal collection of trunks contributed to building the brand’s extensive trunk archive.

“He had been a sickly child, so he spent a lot of time at home,” she said. “He started to study and educate [himself], and became fascinated with different cultures, expanding his mind and became a big collector.

“Since he was the third generation, born into a family that was already successful and established, he had a different approach to what he wanted to add to the family business,” she continued.

Describing him as a jokester and prankster, Amfitheatrof said Gaston-Louis Vuitton had brought a lightness to the family brand, making Louis Vuitton toys and holding play dates in-store. “He also had a very elegant hand and kept these journals we have in the archives with the most beautiful drawings [where] he did a lot of monograms and initials of people,” she added.

His interest in design and architecture led him to produce numerous objects including small cases, toiletry kits and other items, some even leading to patents. The more Amfitheatrof read about his life story, the more she found his character in alignment with today’s clientele.

The Puzzle Titanium ring nods to Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s knack for designing mind puzzles and other intriguing objects.

“I found it interesting because Gaston is really similar to men today, who are in touch with their inner selves, don’t need to be macho, are interested in the arts, collecting, cooking — things that wouldn’t have been considered appropriate 20 or 30 years ago,” she said.

The name of the collection is a play on the Vuitton scion’s first name and “les garçons,” or “the boys” in French. Amfitheatrof wanted its plural form to reflect on the man’s multifaceted character but also that of its future wearers.

What’s more, she felt the creativity, curiosity and playfulness of his character made him a universal figure, gender irrelevant. “We have a little bit of Gaston within us, the playfulness, this element of fun,” she said.

A close-up of the Collier Goumette, which nods to Cuban link bracelets.

“I have a lot of masculine tendencies in the way that I approach life. I don’t need somebody to come and save me, or help me,” she continued, embracing owning up to not being a “girly girl” and loving styles considered more masculine, such as tailoring.

Though billed as a men’s collection, “Les Gastons Vuitton” is therefore intended as a unisex line, with Amfitheatrof comparing it to denim jeans. “Everyone has a pair, everybody wears jeans,” she said. “It’s about attitude, not gender.”

Denim and the cobalt tone that appears in Louis Vuitton branding led Amfitheatrof to the dark blue titanium developed for the new fine jewelry line in a nod to raw indigo but also to the navy blue of a classic wardrobe.

This color signs “The Creators,” a chapter nodding to Vuitton’s habit of filling notebook after notebook with his ideas, designs and sketches. It includes a puzzle ring and a pendant that doubles up as a refillable draftsman pencil.

For “The Collectors,” Amfitheatrof worked around male jewelry staples such as Cuban link bracelets, signet rings and tag necklaces where house signifiers such as the monogram flower and logo are laser-cut and engraved.

“Being part of the Vuitton global family has created a tribe,” said Amfitheatrof, who particularly enjoys designing signet rings. “It is a lovely gesture for people to feel they can be in this family of luxury.”

Owing to Vuitton’s quip that he was “almost born in a trunk” and his lifelong curiosity, “The Curious” chapter is based on the house’s famous product, with bracelet, stud earrings and necklaces featuring miniature versions, each holding a diamond.

The Les Gastons Vuitton Trunk bracelet in white gold and diamonds, priced at 15,500 euros.

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Going forward, Amfitheatrof would like to explore Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s creations, in particular the toys he designed and crafted. “There are some really fun things that just look very playful that could just be turned into jewelry,” she teased.

Available from selected Louis Vuitton stores worldwide, in the fine jewelry selection and alongside its men’s collections, as well as the brand’s website, “Les Gastons Vuitton” is priced between 1,900 euros for a single Trunk diamond stud earring and up to 145,000 euros for the Masterpiece Gourmet white gold necklace, paved with more than 13 carats of white diamonds.  

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