June 23, 2021
Italian fashion house Gucci is echoing the natural and kaleidoscopic universe of creative director Alessandro Michele in its new collection of high jewelry, Hortus Deliciarum.
Translating from Latin as “Garden of Delights,” the Hortus Deliciarum collection takes inspiration from the transformative nature of the sky — from shifting colors to star patterns. Each piece of the collection aims to evoke the power of Mother Nature, the brand’s ultimate muse, interpreting various wonders of the natural world.
“When watching the campaign videos, it's sort of like you’re getting an exclusive look into the brand and it still retains Gucci’s aesthetic of sophistication, high-class, high-quality and innovation,” said Romey Louangvilay, communications director at ELMNTL, New York. “I love the use of the model’s silhouette being turned into plant life, and how Jodie Turner-Smith commands the jewelry pieces and controls the animals effortlessly — it makes you want to learn more.”
Garden of Delights
To present the collection, Gucci has showcased the pieces in an advertising campaign, featuring British actress Jodie Turner-Smith, star of the film Queen & Slim, through a series of images and a film that pays homage to Hollywood glamour.
Shot by Glen Luchford, the campaign sees Ms. Turner-Smith taking a midnight dip in her ostentatious swimming pool accompanied by her brightly-colored pet snake and bird.
While Mother Nature is Gucci’s ultimate source of inspiration for its “hortus” of jewels, with their flowers and magical beasts, the actress serves as a fellow muse, expressing the universal beauty of the natural world.
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The collection comprises more than 130 pieces, and its motifs are divided into four chapters informed by the beauty of the natural world, star-crossed skyscapes and sunsets. Also included in the collection are singular and striking solitaires, redefined using maximalism, as well as a selection of bejeweled timepieces.
The first chapter is an ode to the majestic beauty of natural landscapes, recreating the great outdoors as intimate talismans. Monumental natural features, such as waterfalls and softly windblown forestry, are recreated in miniature in delicate and romantic jewels.
The saturated, hypnotic hues of a sky at sunset inform the second chapter of the collection, which immortalizes the fleeting essence of nightfall. Styles borrow from the romantic bygone settings of the nineteenth-century.
Opals and topazes sit alongside spessartite garnets and tourmalines in a skyscape of warm colors on a Georgiana collet-set Rivière necklace with an 8-carat opal set with twilight-hued gemstones.
In the third chapter of “Hortus Deliciarum,” the romanticism of a rose garden forms the foundation for the brand’s most delicate and feminine narrative. Rococo bows and talismanic sautoirs pay homage to botanicals.
Each gemstone has been specifically chosen for its delicate, light color, like the sunset-hued pinkish-orange Padparadscha sapphire, which resembles a rose petal on the cusp of blooming.
The fourth chapter revisits the animal kingdom, evoking mythic bestiary and ancient fauna. The symbolic strength of the lion, the courage and passion of the tiger and the magical mysticism of Dionysus comprise the crest of Gucci’s high jewelry.
Gucci pays homage to the beauty of the natural world
In one collier-style necklace, a 16.36-carat opal is surrounded by 22 leonine figures, forming a pride of lions as an emblem of personal strength.
Watchmaking is also redesigned in an attempt to find a connection between the words “luxury” and “soul.” Lion heads rotate to reveal and conceal ocean-blue Australian opal dials on a range of diamond-laden bracelets, set with violet tanzanites and pink tourmalines, rubbelites and mandarin garnets.
Emphasis on nature
Gucci is a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), whose mission is to promote responsible, ethical, social and environmental best practices throughout the gold, platinum group metals and diamond supply chains.
Since November 2015, all gold purchased by Gucci for jewelry has been certified under the RJC Chain of Custody certification scheme in order to help the brand identify the origin and to guarantee verified responsible sources.
This forms part of its mission to trace all materials in its supply chain.
In January, the brand launched the Natural Climate Solutions Portfolio, which focuses on identifying and supporting regenerative agriculture projects within its own supply chain with the goal to source regenerative raw materials.
Outside of its own supply chain, Gucci is incentivizing “carbon farming” and regenerative projects for wool and leather sourcing. In the Patagonia region of South America, the brand is helping woolgrowers adapt to regenerative grazing to improve soil health and water quality while supporting animal welfare and increasing biodiversity (see story).
Gucci also follows parent company Kering’s Responsible Gold Framework, developed to create an innovative way to source gold in a responsible manner. It is supplemented by a financial mechanism that directly supports artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) through a dedicated fund.
The Kering Gold Fund is contributing to the reforestation in French Guiana of an area of 116 hectares of Amazonian forest by planting 214,780 trees and has also partnered with NGO Solidaridad to focus on empowering women in the vicinity of gold mines in Ghana.
Additionally, Kering’s Standards for Raw Materials and Manufacturing Processes presents clear criteria and best practices for each material it uses, from cotton to gold (see story).
“Eco- and green issues have been rising in popularity,” Mr. Louangvilay said. “As millennials and Gen Z tend to focus on environmental issues to create a more sustainable future, Gucci’s venture into focusing a collection on nature speaks to what’s trending.
“Gucci has always been the benchmark for innovation and leading trends when it comes to luxury and their video campaigns do a good job at giving this issue a nod.”