SHOW AND TELL: Louis Vuitton’s artistic director for watches and jewelry Francesca Amfitheatrof says a good book on jewelry is less about the glittering creations themselves as it is “the person behind the story you always want to know about.”

Francesca Amfitheatrof: Fantastical Jewels,” scheduled to be published by Rizzoli on Sept. 19, sets out to give a closer look at who is behind the high jewelry creations for the French luxury house.

The 264-page tome peers into the artistic director’s notebooks or at her desk, eyes her sketches and inspirations, and leafs through the notes that led to the creation of the first four collections she designed for Louis Vuitton since her 2018 nomination as artistic director for watches and jewelry.

But it was also an opportunity to “stop, look back and see how much we’ve achieved” in a division that “didn’t really exist five years ago,” Amfitheatrof said.

The book features hand-drawn sketches, photographs and even cutouts draped on mannequins alongside images of the finished jewels.

Courtesy of Rizzoli New York

That’s why she kept the book’s scope at four collections, eschewing the addition of this year’s Deep Time designs as she “wanted to give space to the enormous scope of inspiration and the kind of craft and hands-on method” she prefers.

Amfitheatrof had been kicking around the idea of a book for some time but she “didn’t want to do a gloss, beautiful, classic high jewelry book,” a genre she found “stunning but at times a little cold or impersonal,” she told WWD.  

So don’t expect a chronological recounting of the process, either.

Chapters jump between 2018 and 2021, an approach that feels fitting for a designer who is “not simply a master jeweler” but “an alchemist and an adventuress,” as Cate Blanchett writes in the book’s foreword.

The actress, who served as the face of the Spirit collection, has been wearing Amfitheatrof’s designs since her Tiffany & Co. tenure highlighted the way “each piece moves with the body, inviting you to cocreate a narrative which seems to have been designed exclusively for you.”

Designs from the Spirit, Riders of the Knights, Stellar Times and Bravery collections as well as the proprietary LV Cut Star Monogram diamond shape are explored through a wealth of visual material and the words of Stefania Amfitheatrof, the designer’s sister and a writer specialized in luxury and branding who has been writing the collections’ notes.

The coffee-table book will be released exclusively in English and be priced at $115 or 90 pounds.

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