This season, Project Runway’s designers have had to be inspired by ugly tuxes, found objects in movie theaters, and fashion from 20 years ago. This week, then, should be a breeze, since they get to take their inspiration from something that’s beautiful to begin with: gorgeous pieces of jewelry from Chopard, a Swiss jewelry company. And it’s only fitting that Caroline Scheufele, Chopard’s creative director and co-president, sits in to judge. But just who is Scheufele, and how can the Project Runway contestants curry her favor?
Scheufele, also known by her married name of Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, introduced high-end jewelry lines to Chopard, including their signature Happy Diamonds collection. “Caroline… is ebullient and socially prominent,” the Financial Times says. “As well as building a high jewellery business, she has arguably done more to glamorise the watch and jewellery industry than anyone in the past 25 years.”
Scheufele co-runs Chopard as a team with her brother, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, and their working relationship is kind of adorable. “I was behind him from day one,” she told the Financial Times. “And I can say he was behind me from day one.”
Here are some other things about Scheufele you need to know before Project Runway airs:
She Redesigned the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme D’Or
It’s not unusual to see Project Runway contestants updating a classic design — or a not-so-classic design, if you saw the episode with the outdated tuxedos. Scheufele is no stranger to the redesign; in 1997, she modernized the Palme D’Or, the prize given out at the Cannes Film Festival. Every year since then, Chopard has supplied the 24k-gold trophy, which is “hand-cast into a wax mold, then attached to a cushion of a single piece of cut crystal.”
And, This Year, She Made The Palme D'Or More Ethical
Not one to rest on her laurels, Scheufele made another change to the Palme D’Or this year: she changed the gold to “fairmined” gold. According to Blouin Artinfo, “Fairmined gold is extracted by artisanal and small-scale miners certified under a specific ethical standard created by the Alliance for Responsible Mining, which guarantees strict adherence to the rules of economic, social, and environmental development in the mining process.” Scheufele had already been incorporating more fairmined gold into Chopard’s jewelry and watches when she made the switch for the Cannes trophy. It makes you wonder if the Project Runway contestants will have to do a challenge where they make clothing out of fair-trade materials (and if they could get said materials at Mood Fabrics).
Her Personal Style Is Simple
Project Runway contestants often have a problem with overdoing it. Not so with Scheufele's sense of style. “An object I would never part with is a simple cross — partly silver, partly of mother-of-pearl — from a church in Beirut,” she told the Financial Times' "How to Spend It" column. “I carry it in my pocket or my bag like a talisman.” In the same interview, she says her personal style signifier is a pair of bespoke Chopard diamond hoop earrings, which doesn’t sound too extravagant for a world-renowned jeweler.
Except There Was That One Time…
…that she lost a 16.83-carat emerald ring in the bathroom of a hotel in Hong Kong hotel. (A thief made off with the ring after she left it there.) Well, we can’t all be perfect.
Images: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime (2); Getty Images (3); Giphy