Cuba inspires Carrera y Carrera’s Azucar Collection
By James Clatford
BASEL, March 27, 2009 – Cuba is the inspiration for the new Azucar collection launched by Madrid-based Carrera y Carrera at Baselworld 2009.
Drawing on the historic ties between Cuba and Spain, the Spanish firm goes back to its roots to design a group of sensuous pieces, of nostalgic yet glamorous modernness, worked in yellow gold, precious stones and pearls.
Speaking at the Carrera y Carrera booth in the Prestige Hall, CEO Nathalie Guedj told Jewellery Outlook that the Cuban inspiration for the new collection was the first foray of the group into the Hispanic world outside of Spain since she started directing the company in 2006.
Mini Gardenia yellow gold and rose cut diamond ring
Seated near a huge mural inside the booth depicting a sensuous Cuban street scene, she spoke of the strong historical and cultural links between Spain and Cuba.
One theme of Cuba is the Gardenia flower, which gives its name to one of the two lines in the Azucar collection.
“We are always looking for inspiration from Spanish culture. But this year we said, Let’s go beyond Spain. We focused on Cuba, because of its flowers, its sensuality,” Guedj said.
Another line in the Azucar collection is Mosaics, inspired by the mosaic floors in Cuban homes.
Sometimes Spaniards returning home with a small fortune after half a lifetime spent in Cuba, would adorn their houses in Spain with mosaic designs from Cuba.
The Azucar collection of Carrera y Carrera is being launched globally this year and will be found in Damas Les Exclusives stores.
Guedj said retail sales of Carrera y Carrera jewels were holding up resiliently against the global economic slowdown.
“The mood worldwide is bad, but the drop in retail sales is not so bad,” she said.
She said the Russian market was in worse shape than the U.S. market, in part due to the recent fall of the rouble.
Gardenia yellow gold, pearls and diamonds earrings
However, continental markets like Benelux, France and Germany, were holding up relatively well.
Carrera y Carrera has responded to the tough global economic conditions by trimming advertising and marketing expenditure, but has continued to advertise in leading consumer magazines.
Asked to describe the profile of the woman who would wear the Azucar collection, Guedj said, “She is a daring woman. She is not shy. This collection adds a touch of sensuality.”
Retail price points of the Azucar collection range from roughly 1,850 euros to 59,000 euros.
CARRERA Y CARRERA
Spurred on by a family tradition dating back to the 19th century, Manuel Carrera and his cousin Juan Jose created the Carrera y Carrera brand in the 1970s.
The firm quickly began the process of international expansion, which was consolidated with the arrival in 1999 of a new management team.
In 2001, Lladro acquired a 58 percent stake in the company, and in 2006 it took control of 100 percent.
Nathalie Guedj has vast experience in the world of luxury goods and jewellery.
Gardenia yellow gold and red lacquer necklace
During a professional career spanning more than 20 years, she has left her mark on firms such as Cartier, Christofle and Van Cleef &Arpels USA, where she was Chief Executive for eight years.