What Happened at Christian Louboutin's Jaeger-LeCoultre Party
In celebration of the iconic Reverso watch's 85th anniversary, the famed shoe designer incorporated his signature aesthetic: "My work is rooted in femininity, and [in this project] I never lost the vision that I should keep this very feminine side."
"Deneuve is here."
Those three little words instantly turned Monday night’s Jaeger-LeCoultre party into the hottest event of this year’s SIHH — of course, it was only the first day of the annual watch fair in Geneva, but few moments top a Catherine Deneuve sighting. Indeed, there she sat in a corner of the VIP area in the event space known as Pavilion Sicli, looking characteristically chic in leopard-print Lanvin while sharing a tête-à-tête with Christian Louboutin.
Jaeger-LeCoultre brand ambassadors Clive Owen and Sarah Gadon also populated the VIP area alongside Carmen Chaplin, Elisa Sednaoui and Eva Riccobono. All were on hand to celebrate the 85th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most iconic timepiece, the Reverso, which made its debut in 1931 as a watch crafted with polo players in mind; as its name implies, the case reverses so the crystal sits against the wrist, thereby protecting it during play. Owen, clean-shaven now that his stint on Cinemax’s The Knick is (maybe?) complete, wore Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon, a limited-edition platinum watch crafted to commemorate the anniversary, and which found its way onto his wrist after debuting for the press just a few hours earlier. "I’ve had the best time working with them — they’re the most classy, elegant company," he said.
ON THE WATCH: Catherine Deneuve and Clive Owen attend the Jaeger-LeCoultre party. (Photos: Getty Images)
Deneuve, she revealed, is likewise a fan of the Swiss watchmaker. "I’ve been a great admirer for a long time," the actress told Pret-a-Reporter, noting that she became acquainted with the Jaeger-LeCoultre execs when she presided over the Venice Film Festival jury in 2006. "We do things together, but in a very easy, simple way; nothing too official."
Chief in the did-you-know department, Deneuve’s style-icon status extends to a love of watches: She’s collected pieces by Cartier, Patek Philippe and Van Cleef & Arpels, and owns several vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre pieces in diamonds and platinum. And yes, a Reverso is also found in her collection. "I like it because it’s very cool," she said. "You can wear it everywhere, and it’s classic but also subtle."
Louboutin is shaking up the Reverso during this anniversary year, having been invited to collaborate and imbue his forward-thinking aesthetic upon the rectangular timepiece.
"My work is rooted in femininity, and [in this project] I never lost the vision that I should keep this very feminine side," explained the designer. "I wanted to take this very rectangular, perfect design, and bring into it an element of circles. Something had to be round. I wanted to add curve to the angles, because that would bring an element of femininity into it for me."
Just don’t expect elements that might evoke thoughts of Louboutin’s signature red soles. "I do very, very few collaborations, because it also needs to feel like a challenge to me," he said. "To simply add red isn’t a challenge. What I really wanted to do was marry our two DNAs and see how they might work together."
Known as Atelier Reverso, Louboutin’s collab collection indeed features rounded, sensual elements, as well as details rooted in texture — a circle of pavé diamonds on a rose-enamel dial, for example, or the addition of rose-gold chains, looping to form tiny circles that edged a white-leather watchband. "There was something of that one that reminded me of an officer’s epaulets,” said Louboutin. "I think that’s the one I would want for myself." Offering a variety of combinations in seven dials and seven watchbands, the Atelier Reverso collection arrives in Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques in the spring.
Louboutin’s participation also added an unexpected element to the anniversary party: complimentary beauty bars offering manicures featuring his highly popular nail lacquer, which quickly proved more popular than the Louis Roederer Champagne or passed hors d’oeuvres like eggs in truffle oil. Before joining Deneuve in the VIP area, he also posed for selfies with a seemingly endless line of female fans.
Ultimately, has his stint as a watch designer added anything to his everyday work designing those lust-worthy shoes? "To tell you how it might inspire me now, I really don’t know," said Louboutin. He thought for a second, then added with a sly smile, "Wait and see."
ON TIME: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon, a limited-edition platinum watch crafted to commemorate the anniversary, was seen on Clive Owen during the soiree. (Photo: Courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre)