This is the first of a series of posts on my favorite jewelry designers.
Van Cleef and Arpels
Let's start with the Chanel of jewelers.
I started paying attention to Van Cleef and Arpels after seeing a mesmerizing ad in Vogue some years ago for their Alhambra collection (image from http://www.van-cleefarpels.com/). The funky fusion of Alice in Wonderland and Lolita made a bizarre yet captivating presence. I stared it for ages. The Alhambra collection is my favorite for many reasons. For starters, each line under the collection has the sweeties of names: magic, lucky, sweet etc. While consistently using the four clover design, the collection is diverse enough to appeal to many women. I am partial to the magic line. It uses two of my favorite materials: onyx and mother-of-pearl. The design is feminine but not frilly, simple but not stoic. The perfect combination of grace and cheeky. I can see these pieces on a lady who lunches or her daughter on a play date.
The spectacular design and flawless craftsmanship of Van Cleef and Arpels is further enhanced by perfection in visual presentation. The online browsing experience is enhanced by playfully interactive site design. It is like a trip to fantasy land. The music and images are nothing like your average catalog display of merchandise. Pieces are "hidden" in the background and reveal themselves as you mouse over. It's like playing Easter egg hunt in a fairy princess's castle! I can go on and on forever, but words are too limited. Seeing is believing so if you have time - not just 5 minutes, for you will be hooked - visit their site and simply revel in the magic.
I just have to mention the story behind the brand. La Maison Van Cleef and Arpels is the story of a romance and coming together of families. The daughter of jewelry dealer marries the son of craftsman. (http://www.vancleef-arpels.com/en/van-cleef.html#/home/) Don't you just love stories like that?!