Mariah Carey Debuts Chopard Collaboration, Talks Butterfly Album Anniversary – News Kidda

It’s raining in New York and Mariah Carey is in the bathtub.

“Today the weather was stormy,” says the elusive singer at the kick-off of a telephone interview about a new collaboration with luxury jeweler Chopard. Since the topic du jour is diamonds, it’s an obvious question to ask if she’s wearing one at this particular moment because while she’s dripping wet, this is Mariah Carey after all. Answer: Of course she is, honey.

“I’m wearing a diamond bracelet and another bracelet my daughter Monroe made for me,” she says of her 11-year-old’s pink and lavender beaded creation with Nick Cannon. ‘It says Lambily – that’s for the lambily. We were lying with all kinds of different things.”

There are many layers to the conversation that follows. Carey’s Chopard partnership – Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey Collection – debuted on September 16, a date marking the 25th anniversary of her career-shifting 1997 album Butterfly. The diamond-heavy collection features the titular bug on everything from necklaces and bracelets to rings and earrings, and it was all Carey’s idea.

In the backstory detail, Carey talks about the creative renaissance she began with the album after divorcing former Sony boss Tommy Mottola (and fleeing their shared mansion she called “Sing-Sing”), why she got in touch with Chopard president Caroline Scheufele to suggest they work together, and when she first discovered a love for diamonds (courtesy of Marilyn Monroe).

Chopard released a Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey Collection

Thanks to Chopard

It feels special to speak to you at this time as we approach the 25th anniversary of Butterfly because that symbol has been such an iconic part of your career ever since. What does the symbol mean to you today and how has its meaning changed over the years?

I was never the one who loved butterflies from childhood, it didn’t seem like it really was me. I don’t know how many people will know what I’m talking about, but when I left “Sing-Sing” aka the mansion I had in Bedford that I paid for half of myself, when I walked out I became writing the song “Butterfly” – the section spread your wings and prepare to fly. In my mind it would be an uptempo David Morales moment at the time, kind of a remix vibe. I was just trying to get out of there. Certain things have happened and I won’t go into too much detail about them, but I will say that when I left I did see a butterfly. From that moment on I saw butterflies everywhere.

It stayed with me and it wasn’t a one-time thing because I wrote a song and an album called Butterfly. For me it really stands for freedom and also for emancipation. I know it’s a different era, a different album, but there are many different interpretations of the symbol of a butterfly. It’s about going through something and coming out freer on the other side, that’s what it really represents to me.

I read that you suggested working with Caroline Scheufele at Chopard. I know they’ve been really good to you over the years, but what inspired you to reach out and say, “We need to do something together.”

Okay, of course, for me, Christmas doesn’t end on December 25th. So it was a month after Christmas and I was still there with my tree and everything. It had been a while since everyone had opened all their presents. I let everyone open theirs first because I enjoy giving more than receiving. I sat alone in the living room looking at the tree and realized there was another package on the table. It belonged to Chopard and Caroline sent me a beautiful silk scarf and a letter. I was like, this is so beneficial because “All I Want for Christmas is You” was going to be diamond and I thought of some kind of collaboration.

I held out my hand because I had a feeling and because she had written me this beautiful note and sent me this beautiful gift. We started talking and she literally sketched the butterfly necklace, the most important piece, as we talked about the whole concept of working together. I’m still a little incredulous about it because it’s such a dream come true. It’s such a great association to be able to say that I’m working with Chopard on this collection. I don’t even know how to explain it. I have no words. I just got ready to share the Happy Butterfly collection with the world.

Chopard released a Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey Collection

Thanks to Chopard

I love that. Coming back to the sketches, I know you are really hands on and have a good eye for craftsmanship and design. What did the collaboration process look like?

Because [the time] when we started talking I thought maybe it would be a snowflake or something at Christmas. But Caroline and Daphne, who work closely with her, were very fond of the butterfly concept. I totally agreed and it just happens to be lucky timing for Happy Butterfly for me as we are celebrating 25 days Butterfly the album of existence.

I know you have worn Chopard many times over the years and I read in Harper’s bazaar that you said Chopard was generous to you at a time when many others were not. What did that mean to you at the time?

That was at one point when they gave me a beautiful piece of jewelry; actually it was a watch and you know i don’t know the time but it was pink and i still have it – it’s so sweet. They are very special in that way and ethical practices are really important to them, using ethical gold and gemstones. I’ve always felt like they’re a great company outside of, you know, the biggest diamond company in the whole country. So when this collaboration started, it really felt like a Cinderella moment.

One of the photos I came across was the time you wore 121 carats of Chopard diamonds to an event in Cannes. Is that the largest number of diamonds you’ve ever worn?

Most likely. That’s more than I can carry right now. I could go to my case and try it, but that was important. Taking them off that night was very difficult, I remember.

When we started talking, you sang a little Marilyn Monroe to me, someone I know is very important to you. It reminded me of her signing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” in Gentlemen prefer blondes. Remember when you first fell in love with diamonds?

I wrote about this in the book, when I was a little 6 year old girl they had a birthday of Marilyn’s life because she passed away years before. My mom watched it on TV with her boyfriend and they showed the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”. I watched it and it really had an impact on me because they also talked about how difficult a childhood she’d had. And yet I had a difficult childhood there myself, watching this show about a person who became an important figure to the whole world who sings about diamonds and is fantastic.

So that was a very aspiration-like moment. [In the beginning of my career]I chose to wear very little jewelry in the beginning because I didn’t want to buy stuff for myself. Later I met this incredible woman who will remain nameless for this article and she was known for wearing many diamonds. She had an incredible Oscar party every year and if anyone finds out, she’s a genius. Anyway, for some reason she liked me and invited me even though I’ve never won an Oscar. Whitney [Houston] and I sang an Oscar-winning song, but since they didn’t ask me to write it, we didn’t technically win it, but whatever, we kind of liked it. So, you know, this woman said, “Honey, I think you should buy yourself more diamonds. What are you doing?” So I started to look more into it.

Now we have this [collection] that I will have forever. And it all feels like a dream. I don’t know if I should say this, but of course I can because it’s a quote from one of my songs called ‘Emotions’. I will say that through all this I feel emotions.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

Chopard released a Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey Collection

Thanks to Chopard

Pieces from Chopard’s new Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey collection

Thanks to Chopard


Pieces from Chopard’s new Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey collection

Thanks to Chopard

Pieces from Chopard’s new Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey collection

Thanks to Chopard

Pieces from Chopard’s new Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey collection

Thanks to Chopard

This story first appeared in the September 16 issue of News Kidda magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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