I find the Atelier Reverso concept of Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced at SIHH this year an excellent move. The company made a huge step towards a new generation of customers wanting to personalize the timepiece they purchase. They launched it together within the framework of a collaboration with Christian Louboutin, giving the range of customization options a colourful boost. The new Reversos appeared in Vienna at Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique operated by Hübner and I went to meet them.
René-Alfred Chauvot designed the slide and flip case for the Reversos in order to protect the watch during sport activities. With this simple idea he also opened an infinite ground to one of the most basic needs of humankind: play. The moment you hold a Reverso, your hands are itching to click open the watch body, slide it, flip it and slide it again…endlessly. What’s more, the back-sides always hide something intimate: a message from your parents, or your beloved, a miniature or why not another dial?
No wonder the Reverso is still being cherished by Jaeger-LeCoultre – it seems young and crisp, far from being an 85 year-old Methuselah. The collection is enriched with new movements and a garnish which brings it close to recent generations, too. Explicit steps in this direction have been the Atelier Reverso boutique experience, and the collaboration with shoemaking icon, Christian Louboutin.
The latter is especially interesting as it merges the most classical lines of Jaeger-LeCoultre with the explosive shapes and colours of Mr Louboutin. The initiative does tell much about how Jaeger-LeCoultre sees itself in 2016, close to its 200-year anniversary. They dare to retouch the established forms and infuse them with new meaning without shuffling its DNA chain. The magical square of the Reverso is just dipped into a whole new context.
Funny enough, Louboutin’s shoes trigger a similar flipping action: once the smooth curves and funky spikes have been embraced from the front, the signature red soles make you flip it over.
Mr Louboutin was born January 7, 1968 in Paris’ 12th arrondissement. He grew up surrounded by women: his mother and three sisters. At a young age he became familiar with the Parisian nightlife scene of course and enrolled in an internship at the legendary cabaret, Les Folies Bergères. Since then burlesque, cabaret and the Moulin Rouge style have been a great source of inspiration for him.
In 1992 he established his own Parisian shoe salon with two friends. Soon he found his trademark, the signature red sole of his creations, the Rouge. As the story goes, in 1993 he worked on the Pensée pump, a model that still exists, and which was inspired by Andy Warhol’s Flowers paintings made in 1964 and 1965. He wasn’t satisfied with the result, but as he saw his assistant painting her nails, he decided to coat the sole in red. The red sole is protected as a trademark in several countries. Today, Christian Louboutin has more than 90 boutiques worldwide to sell shoes to ladies and gentlemen.
Mr Louboutin has had many interesting collaborations and projects so far. The “Fetish”, an exhibition, film and collection of photos, was for instance made with the filmmaker David Lynch. He also did a capsule collection with graduate fashion designers at the Parsons New School for Design and Bergdorf Goodman in 2012. In 2014, he launched his luxury beauty products Christian Louboutin Beauté with Batallure Beauty. From then on, the red he borrowed from a nail polish in 1993, went back to the bottle again. The Rouge Louboutin Nail Colour was followed by other colours, such as “Nude”, “Pop” and “Noir”. (In September he presents three new fragrances.)
Jaeger-LeCoultre is famous for its mechanisms, the gem-setting and other adorning techniques, they call the “180 skills”. Striving for perfection continues when it gets to straps. Just think about the 2014 Grande Reverso Ultra Thin 1931 model, which was given a warm and soft leather strap by the centuries-old 4th generation family business from Buenos Aires, Casa Fagliano.
The Reversos wearing Christian Louboutin walked the catwalk of the SIHH in January 2016. The newborns became the phenomenal love-children of their super talented parents, and undoubtedly wear the markings of both. The shoe-master did not only create the straps, but took them as inseparable parts of the timepieces and therefore imagined the watch and the strap as a whole. He used his forms, patterns, colours – like iridescent – and even materials such as transparent plastic for the strap that have never appeared on a Reverso before. In all cases, the back-side of the leather is in the trademark Louboutin-red.
Since January, new looks were introduced at the Paris Fashion Week. Straps and dials can be matched as per your taste making the Reversos one of the most versatile collections ever. And to create something with Jaeger-LeCoultre and Mr Louboutin that depict your personality and mood is rather joyful!
Look into the boutique and check out more models!
Photo credits: Christian Louboutin ©, Hübner, Loupiosity.com.
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