Cannes 2017: Weekend with AVAKIAN discovering how celebrities prepare for walking down the red carpet

Jewellery, celebrities, parties – these are the first words that come to mind when you think of the Cannes film festival. Yes, it is precisely these “necessary ingredients” that make the eleven days on the French Riviera completely unforgettable. A high concentration of celebrities from the big screen and show business in the same place, as well as daily film premieres, results in thousands of journalists, stylists, critics, tourists, and fans of celebrities to gather together in the small resort town in the South of France. This year, I decided to visit Cannes and, together with the jewellery company, AVAKIAN, to plunge into the thick of events.

“We’ve been taking part in the Cannes film festival for five years already”, says Haig Avakian in an interview that I conducted live on Instagram. For each jewellery company, attending the yearly event, is not only an opportunity to adorn the celebrities with their jewels, but also a chance to meet new potential clients. Therefore, leading brands rent luxury rooms in the Martinez and Carlton hotels, to which they invite the international press, celebrities and VIPs.

View from the balcony of AVAKIAN salon at Carlton

View from the balcony of AVAKIAN salon at Carlton


The Martinez can be regarded as the centre of events, as it is here that many of the most famous A-listers stay. It is in this hotel that will find the luxury suite of Chopard, the official jewellery partner of the festival. At the exit of the hotel, from morning until evening, there are crowds of fans, waiting for the appearance of their favourites stars in luxury jewellery, after all the premieres happen twice a day and for each one you have to dress so as to make an indelible impression. Several hundred metres away from the Martinez on the main street, Les Croisettes, you will find the other prestigious hotel – Carlton, where AVAKIAN showroom is located.

Having looked through the collections presented by the brand, I could not help but wondering about the process of preparing stars for their grand entrance onto the red carpet. “We are in correspondence with the celebrities’ stylists before the event, as they don’t always come to Cannes personally. Usually, they send us photographs of the planned look for the red carpet on WhatsApp and we exchange photos of jewellery until we find the perfect option,” says Haig.  

On the 21 May the Portuguese model Sara Sampaio wore AVAKIAN jewellery and a sparkling purple jumpsuit by Versace to the premiere of 120 Battements Par Minute and I was able to take part in her preparation. While the make-up artist was finishing Sara’s make-up, she tried on several pieces of jewellery, until she found the one that she thought was the most suitable. In the end, from several options, she chose the AVAKIAN earrings from the Gatsby Collection with soft-pink morganites, white enamel and diamonds, and also the wrap-around bracelet from the Victory Collection with a pave of diamonds and mother-of-peal. Having put on the jewellery, Sara got into a car and after a few minutes was standing in front of the lenses of photographers on the red carpet. Ten minutes later, her pictures had already appeared on Getty Images!

“Sometimes celebrities come in at an agreed time, but on other occasions everything happens spontaneously, therefore we bring jewellery to Cannes to match different tastes and styles”, explains Haig. It’s definitely true that AVAKIAN jewellery on display at the Carlton was for pretty much any taste, ranging from an evening set of 5-row diamond necklace and a pair of earring to jewellery from the permanent Riviera collection. As it happens, the first of these was worn by Mary J Blige to the Vanity Fair party, and the second sparkled on the model Toni Garrn at the premier of The Beguiled. So, the belief that red carpet jewellery is only accessible to the select few is just a myth.

11 days in Cannes is an unceasing whirlwind of events and also an excellent platform for jewellery premieres. Taking advantage of this opportunity, AVAKIAN debuted a new collection of women’s jewellery watches Lady Concept, but I’ll tell you about this in the next article. 

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