Elegance with Attitude 2023 — Behind the Scenes in Miami with Assael, David Benoliel, and Padulo Privé   

Coveted for their unrivaled quality by connoisseurs, Assael pearls are conjured into exquisite jewels  of understated splendor and re-imagined classicism.

– Vivienne Becker 

Launched recently in leading fashion and lifestyle publications such as Town & County, W, and Architectural Digest, Assael’s new Elegance with Attitude campaign is a visually stunning tribute to pearls and coral – the wondrous natural treasures of the ocean. Both biogenic gems emerge as leading expressions of luxury for both men and women in the new campaign, produced by veteran jewelry marketer Joe Padulo of Padulo Privé and art directed by New York’s Alison Goudreault of I See Ideas. 

Here, we go behind the scenes of the on-location South Florida shoot, exploring the inspirations for the beautiful campaign imagery and capturing the creative talents that produced the stunning visuals. 

“Elegance with Attitude” Creative Team 

Pure, pristine, and perfect, pearls are renowned for their captivating beauty, desired for their moonlit luminescence, both elegant and enigmatic.

“Elegance with Attitude” encapsulates modern luxury… a delicate balance of confidence, ease, and sublime sophistication. It’s the perfect theme for expressing the je ne sais quoi of gem pearls and precious coral.   

“For me, it’s about ‘elegance with attitude’ across generations, genders, and lifestyles,” says Assael Senior Vice President Peggy Grosz. “Our unrivaled quality and the exciting new designs throughout this campaign really show how the history and story of pearls has evolved over time. The pearl revolution is an international phenomenon, and we are proud to be a part of it.”  

Joe Padulo, founder of the laser-focused jewelry marketing agency Padulo Privé has built a career spanning 40+ years creating iconic fashion images with emotional impact for fine jewelry brands. For this campaign, Padulo envisioned a glorious collision of fashion and jewelry in a lavish and inspirational environment. Assael’s gem quality pearls and coral complete the look with gender-fluid sophistication and a delightful touch of romance. 

Padulo partnered with Art Director Alison Goudreault, the New York City tastemaker and founder of I See Ideas, to visualize the concept and to oversee execution. Goudreault led the production to create dreamy scenarios with a refined aesthetic, bringing the campaign to life with jewelry in the lead as the striking visual images were produced. 

Adding his signature touch of brilliance, Padulo brought in renowned jewelry historian and author Vivienne Becker to write the poetic and descriptive campaign copy (as seen in the photo captions for this post). Drawing upon her extensive knowledge of jewelry history, Vivienne includes the storied tradition of pearls into the text, painting a picture of timelessness and balancing it with exciting modernity. Like Assael’s contemporary pearl designs, her words breathe new life into the legacy of the pearl. They linger in our inner ear and help us appreciate the stunning campaign images on multiple levels. 

Location, Location, Location

Magnificent Pearls. Luster for Life. Each Assael pearl jewelry design has a delightfully charismatic individuality. 

To find the perfect location for filming the campaign, Goudreault and Padulo chose Miami for its modern luxury vibe. Where better to shoot magnificent pearls and exquisite coral than by the water, where pearls literally and figuratively come out of their shells. A dramatic island-bound private residence off the coast the Miami was secured for the shoot. The palatial waterfront estate resembles a lavish resort, with views of Biscayne Bay, pool-side settings, and luxurious art and furnishings. The beautiful villa is both modern and opulent. 

Meet the Production Team 

Precious Coral, rare and mystical, the color of a Mediterranean summer,  is the pearl’s constant companion in the ocean’s rich treasury, and in Assael’s heart and the pearl’s constant companion in the ocean’s rich treasury, and in Assael’s heart and soul.

No fashion or lifestyle campaign can come to life without an exceptional eye behind the lens. Goudreault and Padulo secured the renowned Parisian-born fashion photographer David Benoliel to shoot the campaign images. Known for his breathtaking backdrops, cutting-edge lighting, richly detailed textures, and broad expanses of beauty, Benoliel captured both the elegance and the attitude that the campaign exudes.  

The geometric juxtaposition of cityscape, vertical blinds, and textured walls create contrast for Benoliel allowing the human form to pop in the foreground and provide linear contrast to the spheres of pearls and coral, especially in shots with classic pearl strands. Natural forms like palm fronds and the surface of water provide seamless subtle scenery for showcasing contemporary jewelry designs, as well as visual cues to remind the viewer of both pearls’ and coral’s natural aquatic origins.

The Talent

Assael is helping men turn the tables, embarking on a whole new pearl adventure; revisiting and reinventing history, playing with traditions, challenging conventions, as only Assael can do.

Benoliel masterfully captures the beauty and charisma of supermodels Michaela Kocianova and James Lawrence, both stunning in the Assael high jewelry collections featured in the campaign. The all-gender sophistication of pearls comes to life richly on Lawrence. With debonaire grace, he wears South Sea and Akoya Pearl strands, a single stud pearl earring and a statement brooch on the lapel – a look inspired by recent red-carpet men-in-pearls moments. He also sports a Tahitian Pearl necklace in an alluring and dramatic visual as he emerges from the pool. 

Conscious Coral… Assael is a pioneer in sourcing sustainable precious coral, of superlative quality and rarity. Assael’s coral strands are composed of beads, meticulously matched in color, tone and texture, collections that may take years to assemble, glossy and glamorous. Tactile, joyful, a miraculous marvel of nature, an ocean treasure, fashioned with passion and style by Assael.

Kocianova embraces understated splendor and Becker’s idea of “re-imagined classicism” as Benoliel captures the duality of her flirtatious spirit and her self-assured boldness. She wears the contemporary Assael jewelry with grace and panache, balancing the striking jewelry design with her own individual sense of femininity. With an inherent attitude of sophistication, she conveys an aspirational aesthetic that perfectly epitomizes today’s pearl and coral connoisseur. 

Videographer Tony Michel of Popcorn Productions shot simultaneous video during the photoshoot, including drone footage and sweeping full body fashion looks. The campaign video is published on YouTube, along with plentiful reels on Instagram.  

Men in Pearls – Assael is revisiting and reinventing history, playing with traditions, challenging conventions.  Assael understands pearls and their legends and lore well enough to break the rules, revolutionizing pearl jewelry, with great reverence, making it modern, gender-fluid, ageless for every generation. 

Wardrobe stylist Sophia Daguano styled the looks with a refreshing take on today’s comfort-focused luxury lifestyle. Rich fabrics in solid colors keep the focus on the jewelry and grant an air of status to the overall looks. Makeup artist Madeline Rouge captured Kocianova’s natural beauty without ever overdoing it, keeping her simple extraordinary beauty intact.   

Endlessly Versatile. Wear them in lustrous layers, luscious and draped to caress the skin, to resonate with echoes of the pearl’s regal past. Or go for a modern classic, the sautoir, long, loose and luminous, ungraduated, looped for a look of casual, low-key opulence.

For more information and a detailed listing of Assael’s magnificent pearls and exquisite coral used in the campaign, please click here.   

Campaign credits include –  







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