A Travel Blog from the Editors of Departures
luxury

Posts by Shannon Adducci

Stunning Jewelry as Art by Victoire de Castellane

Stunning Jewelry as Art by Victoire de Castellane
© Victoire de Castellane. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Vito Flamminio

The redoubtable Dior Joaillerie designer Victoire de Castellane is turning wearable art inside out in her new exhibition “Precious Objects,” which showcases sculptures composed of fine jewelry displayed on various objects at New York’s Gagosian Gallery through April 5. “It’s important for me to show how jewelry can be presented when it is not worn,” said de Castellane during the show’s opening on March 11. “I like the idea of continuing the life of these pieces.”

Among the twentysome works in the exhibit, there are diamond earrings and rings set among large silver blocks, an approach inspired by sugar cubes. “It’s about playing with the abstract in that way,” she explains, “creating a sugar cube out of diamonds to show the crystallization.” (Lunae Lumen Satine Mummy Blue, 2013—made with yellow and white gold, platinum, emeralds, diamonds and colored lacquer—is pictured above.) Then there are her signature lacquered flower rings in psychedelic hues that hint at her work at Dior, where she has served as the company’s creative director of fine jewelry for more than 16 years.

This is de Castellane's second collection of sculptural works. She showed her first series, “Fleurs d’excès,” in 2011 at the Gagosian Gallery in Paris; highlights from it are also on display here (her inaugural show in New York). She says the main difference between the two exhibits relies on the use of larger precious stones like diamonds and emeralds in the newer works. “It’s very classical for me,” she says. “But even then I like to play with the extremes.” No carat counts are listed, but the gobstopper-sized gems speak for themselves. Through April 5; 980 Madison Ave.; 212-744-2313; gagosian.com.

A Wave of Stunning Diamonds

A Wave of Stunning Diamonds
Courtesy of De Beers

Just in time for the festive holiday season, De Beers has released a new high-jewelry collection called Phenomena: necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings all inspired by the natural intrigue and beauty of water. Divided into five categories to represent different aspects of H20—Stream, Frost, Glacier, Reef, Crest—the designs incorporate all types of cuts (sourced independently of the brand’s mining parent company) from the 12-year-old diamond jeweler’s repertoire.

The 33.4-carat Crest necklace ($480,000; pictured above), for example, is designed to represent the spray of an ocean wave using 289 diamonds, the largest being a 4.08-carat pear-shaped gem. The Glacier earrings ($125,000) use emerald baguette- and princess-cut, round-brilliant and pear-shaped diamonds to create a mirror-like conversion that mimics the cracking movement of ice floes.

While each of the collection’s 16 pieces has a distinct motif, the entire assortment is also customizable, allowing customers to swap out certain diamonds for their own favorites. debeers.com.

Chopard's Custom Watch App

Chopard’s Custom Watch App
Courtesy of Chopard

When Chopard debuted its Happy Sport ladies watch 20 years ago, the new arrival was a bold shift from the typical jewelry watch of the era. It paired diamonds with steel, had a modern, sporty look and (most important) included loose, floating diamonds on the dial—a signature now iconic to its brand.

To mark the anniversary, Chopard has debuted the My Happy Sport app, which allows fans to create their own custom Happy Sport watches from their iPads or iPhones. Customers can browse inspirations or start from scratch, choosing from rose gold or stainless steel, mother-of-pearl or white dials, crocodile, steel or rubber bracelet straps, diamond settings and a variety of diamond objects (stars, flowers, letters) that float on the dial.

Our favorite (pictured above) is a plain rose-gold case with a matching rose-gold bracelet strap and a sprinkling of three star-shaped floating diamonds and four round bezel-set pink sapphires. And the best part of the process? Once a design is submitted, it takes just three weeks for Chopard’s in-house watchmakers to craft the timepiece. Watches start at $8,000; app is available on the iPad or the iPhone; chopard.com.

Ralph Lauren’s Ode to Art Deco

20111112-dd-ralph-lauren.jpg
Courtesy Ralph Lauren.

It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last, but the perennial obsession with all things Jazz Age is in full force. Blame it on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, maybe, but last summer, there was also Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and last winter marked the release of Paula McLain’s novel The Paris Wife, about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming remake of The Great Gatsby is going to be out next Christmas. And let’s not forget the runway trends for this spring: Gucci’s shimmery frocks with Chrysler Building geometry; Marc Jacobs’s drop-waists; and Ralph Lauren’s return to his Gatsby roots.

Lauren continued his love affair with the Jazz Age with his new fine jewelry collection: nine pieces in white and rose gold, onyx, emerald and diamond done in geometric and asymmetric shapes. We love this cuff, inspired by the architecture of the Art Deco era ($141,500). It pairs perfectly with matching earrings, done in a paved diamond square motif with agate and onyx ($36,000). Available at the Ralph Lauren women’s flagship store, 888 Madison Avenue; ralphlauren.com.

Jemma Wynne’s Colorful Armwear

20111109-dd-jemma-wynne.jpg
Courtesy Jemma Wynne.

It’s now common accessories knowledge that you can never have too many bangles, but sometimes you want more than just a glorified friendship bracelet to add to an arm party (yes, that’s code for bracelets piled on a wrist). Enter Jemma Wynne, a contemporary jewelry brand whose gold bangles with brightly colored sliced stones are the perfect addition to that carefully planned stack of cuffs, bangles and watches.

The collection, which also includes sliced watermelon tourmaline necklaces and mammoth ivory earrings, is designed by Stephanie Wynne and Jenny Klatt, who first met in 2005 while working at Judith Ripka. Their background there can be seen in the delicateness of their pieces, but it’s their colorful sliced stones and asymmetrical shapes that make their collection unique.

When the duo teamed up in 2008 to launch the brand, their first piece was a bangle; now they have more than 20 options available. We especially love this stack with a mix of pavé diamonds and prehnite, labradorite and serpentine. Bangles from $1,700; 626-799-3109.

WHIMS: APERLAI'S SPRING/SUMMER COLLECTION

aperlai.jpg

Every season shoe designs become more and more outrageous: more studs, more exotic skins, more death-defying height (who could forget Alexander McQueen’s ten-inch Armadillo heels a few years back?). Which is why the new spring collection of Aperlaï, designed by founder Alessandra Lanvin (granddaughter-in-law of Jeanne Lanvin) with Central Saint-Martin grad Geraldina Bassani Antivari, is a welcome change. The 40 pairs in the collection, which feature ladylike details and sumptuous shapes, are sexy but feminine. To be clear, the styles still have their share of super-thin metal stilettos and rich python and croc—plus the new exotic favorite, stingray—but they’ve been mixed with softer, colorful details like raffia ruffles, thick satin ankle wraps and even seersucker. Take the Clara heel, trimmed in black raffia, or the hot pink–strapped Chiara, with subtle nude snakeskin details. Each heel is at least four inches, but Aperlaï also offers suede and python moccasins for true comfort. The shoes are available at Bergdorf Goodman—albeit in limited quantities—and a Paris boutique is in the works. Shoes, from $570. For more information, contact Aperlaï at aperlai@aperlaiparis.com

Mauboussin Debuts A New E-Commerce Site

mauboussin.jpg

© Courtesy Mauboussin

Last week French jewelry firm Mauboussin opened the doors of its shop on Madison Avenue in New York to celebrate the launch of its new e-commerce site, mauboussin.us. Guests filled all three floors of the townhouse boutique to snack on macarons, sip La Caravelle Champagne and peruse the new collections, which include large candy-colored amethyst and citrine cocktail rings and diamond necklaces and bracelets done in Mauboussin’s signature shooting star. The Manhattan boutique, which opened in 2008, is the company’s first American flagship and houses its colored-stone, diamond and watch collections on the first two floors, while the third floor serves as its bridal salon.

The online shop, meanwhile, is an ode to Mauboussin’s flagship on the Place Vendôme. Most of the collection will be available online, though the emphasis is on the company’s steel-and-diamond watches (from $545) and popular cocktail rings (from $1,100), which come in sapphire, amethyst and citrine and have poetic names like Couleur Baiser (Kiss of Color) and C’est Toi la Star (You’re the Star).

Mauboussin, 714 Madison Avenue; 212-752-4300; mauboussin.us

Most Recent Features