French Maison Louis Vuitton´s Riders of the Knights is a homage to medieval heroines, a journey in time that continues the theme of travel that weaves through the Maison’s high jewellery collections. Each of the 50 pieces of jewellery honours the women of the Middle Ages who, in a world ruled by men, took matters into their own hands and made a lasting impact on the world.
Riders of the Knights is about the medieval heroines who changed the course of history through the force of their strength and will. I was thinking of women like Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth of England or Eleanor of Aquitaine. I wanted to capture the idea of strength through chains, armour, amulets and even swords.
There was much speculation around the launch of the Riders of the Knights collection as it is the first high jewellery collection by Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of watches and jewellery, Francesca Amfitheatrof. B Blossom, the fine jewellery collection presented in May, hinted at a change of style chez Louis Vuitton with its chunky shapes and bold colours.
Riders of the Knights shows a new direction for Louis Vuitton high jewellery yet still in tune with the Maison codes we have come to recognise from this Place Vendôme jeweller. Described as the ‘embodiment of determination and independence’, remarkable women from the past through these jewels speak to the confident and successful Louis Vuitton woman of today.
It is quite a radical change in look for Louis Vuitton jewellery, but the pieces are still very much identifiable as jewellery and of course, we only use the very best gemstones. Louis Vuitton is a strong brand, so it needs a strong look.
Comprising three series, Le Royaume, La Cavalière and La Reine, the Riders of the Knights collection brilliantly expresses the maison’s extraordinary vision. In Le Royaume, the refined and architectural lines of a medieval fortress provide the aesthetic cues – think portcullises, chains and drawbridges. La Cavalière and La Reine explore the myths and legends of amulets and weaponry, and the aura of sovereign power. The colours are opulent and majestic and the forms weighty, imposing and loaded with symbolism. Strong rhythms are forged in bold outsized links that are seamlessly set with diamonds and the most precious of gemstones in rich, deep colours.
The Riders of the Night Le Royaume necklace is shaped like a gorget, or chain mail throat-protector, worn by knights in battle. The fine mesh is highly flexible and is set with 1,600 diamonds and sapphires and a 19.31 carat royal blue sapphire.
Louis Vuitton Riders of the Knights Le Royaume diamond and sapphire earrings and ring are part of the Initial collection, the Le Royaume diamond and sapphire earrings are reminiscent of a stone tower and suggest strength and protection.
Aquamarines of an exceptional colour associated with the Santa Maria mine are et in the Riders of the Knight La Reine rings, each decorated with symbols of mediëval heraldy such as the Fleur de Lys, coronets and even a little dagger.
The Riders of the Night La Reine necklace is set with nine exceptional Santa Maria-like aquamarines with a combined weight of 153 carats. Each stone is in a deep bezel setting adding a sense of authority to the jewel.
One of the most impressive jewels is the Le Royaume necklace shaped like a gorget, or chain mail throat-protector, as worn by knights in battle. The fine mesh is highly flexible and set with 1,600 diamonds and sapphires and a 19.31 carat velvety royal blue sapphire. Regal and potent, the sapphires symbolise purity and protection. Woven into the necklace are yet more references to a medieval fortress: the links of the mesh are shaped to resemble the latticed grille of a portcullis complete with spiked ends and a chunky chain – as you would find on a drawbridge – runs around the bottom of the necklace.
The La Cavalière suite features deep red spinels that symbolise ardour and courage. The spinels are protected by diamond-set links that bring to mind a medieval belt clasp. Showcasing Louis Vuitton’s ability to source the most unusual and exceptional stones, the La Reine necklace is set with nine Santa Maria-like aquamarines with a combined weight of 153 carats. Dazzling and imposing, it speaks of dynastic might and boundless wealth.
Spinels, that symbolise ardour and courage, shine out against the diamonds in the Riders of the Knight La Cavalière bracelet and earrings made up of bold links that bring to mind a medieval belt clasp.
Treading a fine line between masculinity and adornment, the diamond and emerald ring is majestic in its bold contrast of the richly coloured emerald and the simplicity of white diamonds and onyx
This diamond, emerald and sapphire ring from Louis Vuitton’s Riders of the Knights high jewellery collection has the shape of a signet ring and could equally worn by a man.
The Riders of the Knight lapis lazuli, diamond and emerald bracelet is an intriguing combination of might and delicateness that exudes a talismanic quality.
A rounded disc of rich blue lapis lazuli the size of a fist is set with a deep green emerald. Suspended from a triple chain of diamonds and sapphires, the talisman-like necklace exudes sovereign power. A sapphire, emerald and diamond ring could equally be worn by a man thanks its robust signet-ring shape and simple gem-setting.
The Louis Vuitton Riders of the Knights collection will later be expanded with fifty more pieces, always inspired by the codes of chivalry, coats of arms and medieval architecture.
Come into the wonderful world of Louis Vuitton.