LUXURYCULTURE.COM - The Bold and The Beautiful


Sculpted jewelry and bold trinkets of epic proportion cut a dash among the style cognoscenti.

Fashion takes a backseat, as costume jewels and accessories of grand proportion herald the return of audacious adornment.

Coco Chanel waggishly indulged in implanting fine gemstones into costume jewel settings, while behind the scenes, master costume jeweler Robert Goossens toiled away, crafting Chanel's sublime couture creations. For almost two decades, Goossens was known as "Monsieur Bijou de Chanel." From Balenciaga to Yves Saint Laurent, there's not a couture house in Paris that hasn't, at some point, sought the adornment of the artist's revered baubles. Such striking gems have made a comeback on the catwalk, as Lanvin, Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent once again take audacious adornment to task. Simple classics are juxtaposed with striking statement pieces that beg to be admired.

In 2006, Tiffany took jewelry to a new level with the launch of the premier jewelry collection by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank O. Gehry. This marriage between the preeminent jeweler and the world's most innovative architect was a daring diversion from the brand's celebrated fine jewels and peerless settings, but it was one that paid off, as its continued success attests. The aesthetics of architecture lends itself to a strong geometric language, as Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an early proponent, discovered more than a century ago.

Meanwhile, in fashion-savvy circles, the style cognoscenti prefer to keep their creative sources under wraps, as lone craftsmen secreted away in small ateliers slave away over finely crafted unique pieces for the privileged few in the know. Elsa Schiaparelli, an early vanguard of the marriage between art and fashion, famously flaunted trinkets of colossal proportions that teased the imagination as well as the eye. At Christian Dior, French designer Victoire de Castellane has carved a niche, marrying precious gems with playful artistry. As London-based jeweler Solange Azagury-Partridge notes, "I don't see the point of wearing jewelry if it's invisible." Her daring, conspicuous creations are anything but. However, as she adds, for aficionados of such superlative accoutrements, "It's not about making a statement, it's about finding something that speaks to you." These works of bold refinement speak volumes.

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