Happy Chinese New Year! Accessories to Celebrate the Year of the Dog

This Friday, February 16th is Chinese New Year! And the festive holiday got us thinking about one of the oldest civilizations in the world. They started producing jewelry 5000 years ago! That means traditional Chinese jewelry comes with some seriously deeply rooted cultural influences and religious beliefs—the kind worth celebrating.

1900-1930 Chinese Sterling Silver Enamel Jade Bracelet

Old Deco Chinese Diaspora 900 Silver Cuff Bracelet

We can see it in the selection of metal, gemstones, and iconography used to produce their pieces. A lot of jewelry is made out of silver—mainly from Mexico and Peru— because the country bought so much of it from Europe and Japan in the 16th and 17th century. While Jade, which we can’t go without mentioning if we’re talking about Chinese jewelry, was the most popular gemstone. It represented highly regarded qualities in the culture like durability, grace, beauty, morality, and connection to the divine—jade talismans were for this reason.


Carnelian Enamel Buddha Ring


Antique Chinese Silver Kylin with Turquoise, Coral and Bone Bead Silver Chain Necklace

But maybe even more distinctly Chinese than jade in the jewelry is the appearance of iconography, especially the dragon. The mythical creature is a real symbol of power and good luck in China. It’s probably only rivaled by The Buddha. Also, there are other less recognized icons to bring you just as many good vibes. The cicada insect is a symbol of rebirth and immortality. The Chinese Phoenix is a messenger of happiness, and represents justice and graciousness. And the kylin (or qilin) is a mythical creature that’s considered a good omen and one that indicates the brith or death of a great leader. You can find antique dog pieces in the fine jewelry market, especially in terms of Victorian eras, Georgian, and Art Deco examples. Here are some of our fun Dog themed picks, in the hopes this year of the dog will be a great one:

Christie’s Is Auctioning Off Jewelry as Art Again and We’re Calling Dibs (For You)

christies billboy 60s necklace

Christies auction house is set to auction off true little works of art that can be worn daily or just gazed at lovingly in your boudoir! What makes jewelry art? Well, I think we all know rarer bijoux examples, often made by hand such as Calder, Line Vautrin, or Louise Nevelson. They are art. However, in my mind jewelry is almost always an art form. And Christie’s is confirming it with their second Art as Jewellery auction Nov 6th –19th. Pieces can be perused online or at 20 Rockefeller Center Galleries from the 4th –13th.

Of course we agree completely with their inclusion of handmade jewelry by BillyBoy* whose pieces have multiple layers and contain relics of couture past, such as glass sourced from Mme Gripoix long ago. Although, the plethora of works by artists here are sure to add to your definition of jewelry as art!

BillyBoy* 1980s example featuring older couture elements in the design.

See some of our favorite Christies picks that could be yours next week!

Man Ray Brooch

Louise Nevelson necklace

Alexander Calder

Corneille. L’Oiseau


Pablo Picasso


*All images via Christies.com. Click the pic to visit the page.

Jewelry History Spotlight: 1955 Gripoix Brooch for Chanel


I was honored to have had this piece for just a bit, before it was acquired by a Chanel collector. This very interesting brooch was from the collection of Robert Clark of Haskell and De Lillo.  He had an extensive archive and this piece was sourced directly from Gripoix in the 1950s.  It was one of 6 created  in reference to a jeweled piece that Coco Chanel had made by Verdura earlier. She is also said to have also had one of these copies. Stamped Made in France and in very good condition for it’s age, it was one of the more interesting piece coming through the doors as of late, and I couldn’t resist a little highlight on it for others interested.


Vintage ad from Sotheby’s concerning the original Verdura piece which they auctioned off.


1955 Chanel Gripoix brooch.


Signature detail/ construction.

Accessorizing YSL + Halston: FIT NYC Offers Up a Iconic Fashion Story





With 1970s style in the air for spring and a bit of winter 2015, it seems to be the ideal time to linger and appreciated the iconic founders of some of these easy chic styles. Yves Saint Laurent + Halston, Fashioning the 70s opened at The museum at FIT, during this fashion week and runs until April 18th, 2015.  Two of the most important names influencing fashion at this time; Yves Saint Laurent and Halston are being examined. From the lighting, to the concave glass , stands, creamy backdrop and metal curtain details; the show really does a great job of displaying the clothing and yes, accessories created by the designers.

YSL and Halston dresses exhibited together. Sarara Couture image.

YSL and Halston dresses exhibited together. Sarara Couture image.

The FIT collection holds some of the most noteworthy examples from each designer laid out by dates with a focus on the 1970s collections.  There are some items and discourse of years that led up to and a bit after the 1970s, allowing for one to really evaluate the designs. They play with some similarities the designer shared, at different moments in their careers… At points you find yourself checking the credits, was it Halston or YSL? Perhaps FIT’s museum best summarizes it by saying:

“All of the nearly 100 objects on view within the exhibition are drawn exclusively from The Museum at FIT’s permanent collection. With such narrow parameters—two designers and one museum collection—the exhibition is decidedly not a survey of 1970s fashion, nor is it a retrospective of each designer’s work. Instead, it is a curatorial exploration, a re-evaluation of Saint Laurent and Halston set within the larger cultural landscape of the dreamy, indolent, sexy 1970s” (The Museum at FIT).

Exhibit section view/ YSL items to the left and mostly Halston gowns to the right. Sarara Couture.com

Exhibit section view/ YSL items to the left and mostly Halston gowns to the right. Sarara Couture.com

While, what you see mostly come from the museum’s vast archive, including an important Halston collection, various noteworthy clients, editors and the like have donated pieces. Credits are displayed under each outfit….. Also, In the spirit of the Fashion Institute of Technology, when you walk inside, they first treat you to a mini educational exhibit of the history of the fake. This enlightens and reminds us all just how long fakes, authorized copies and the like have been part of fashion history, with copies of Vionnet, Chanel and Paul Pioret’s during the 1920s on display.  Great section for collectors and sellers to review.

View of educational video screen on display at the Faking it exhibit.

View of educational video screen on display at the Faking it exhibit. Image Sarara Couture.

Once you journey to the lower level and main exhibit, so to speak, the elevator opens to a creamy white hallway with disco ball glass lighting reflecting on the timeline. Here the graph joins the history of the two designers before you walk into the main exhibit.

YSL/ Halston timeline featured in the outer area of the exhibit. Sarara Couture.

YSL/ Halston timeline featured in the outer area of the exhibit. Sarara Couture.

Once inside the viewer takes in the shared inspirations of the designers, including menswear and non-Western cultures. Yet, those who know the works of both designers well, will also enjoy the way the exhibit highlights each distinct perspective. As a wearer and appreciator of YSL clothing, there were a few pieces that made me want to cry with joy.  Of course, I would love to add the perfect Halston gown to my wardrobe and the exhibit serves up many drool worthy examples.  At this point, rather than do an analysis of YSL and Halston, which has been done via FIT and their exhibit. I wanted to focus in on the belts, jewelry, hats and complete looks that inspired me. Also, the post won’t spoil as much for those who have yet to attend the exhibit.  However; just in case one becomes overwhelmed by the large assortment of fashion history once inside, this post should help you focus in a bit on the accessories as well.

1976 YSL, Cape, part of an ensemble. French. Wool, velveteen, nylon. Sarara Couture image, rights reserved.

1976 YSL, Cape, part of an ensemble. French. Wool, velveteen, nylon. Sarara Couture image, rights reserved.


Halston’s 1974 floor length sequin gown. Sarara Couture image.

I really enjoyed the effort the curators made to create complete looks and which highlighted how important the original fashion accessories created at the time were to the designs. While focusing on the Yves Saint Laurent accessories and jewelry by Elsa Peretti for Halston was at moments overshadowed by garments such as Halston’s sexy chic 1974 sequin gown- concentrate, I did!


1967 YSL African evening dress, stunning iconic example which make it hard to focus on anything!

Vintage fashion image of Twiggy in 1967 YSL African dress.

Era fashion image of Twiggy in a 1967 YSL African dress.


A Look at Original Accessories and Jewelry In Context/ Identification Guide: 


YSL Rive Gauche 1977, “Peasant outfit”. Sarara Couture images throughout.


Closeup belt image.

1976 "Russian" YSL hat. Sarara Couture image.

1976 “Russian” YSL hat.


Gift of Lauren Bacall, 1968 Rive Gauche tassel belt. This piece makes me more excited to see the Fit Lauren Bacall exhibit coming in March.


Built in accessories via Halston's 1982 embellished dress.

Built in accessories via Halston’s 1982 embellished dress.


Black velvet coolie style hat, 1977. Part of YSL’s “Chinese” inspired ensemble.


Definitely a favorite look, 1972 jersey Halston floor length caftan and Elsa Peretti sterling “vessel” necklace, 1975 on silk cord.

elsaperetti halston

Vintage Elsa Peretti Halston “vessel” necklace ad. Original ad. Image is vintage and not by Sarara Couture.



Full area of Halston caftans, including full view of red piece.


Close up on Elsa Peretti 1971 sterling silver belt.

1977 "Chinese" collection silk, detail of fringe belt. YSL.

1977 “Chinese” collection silk, detail of fringe belt. YSL.

1968 Safari shirt and smaller belt. The larger size circular belt original outfit was photographed by Helmut Newton on Verushka in 1968.

1968 Safari shirt and smaller belt. The larger size circular belt original outfit was photographed by Helmut Newton on Verushka in 1968.

Finally, this noteworthy gilt 1968 Chanel Pate Verre fashion brooch from the Faking it exhibit :

IMG_3580 IMG_3578

The Best Books About Fashion Jewelry and “Jewelry for Haute Couture”

Fashion Jewelry Archive

In it’s most pure form fashion jewelry is literally the costume jewelry that walks the runways every season along with its haute couture counterparts. Side note: sometimes when referring to haute couture fashion jewelry, the term is used out of context.  Couture jewelry may have been made for a specific haute couture fashion show, but more often it is made by a designer/artist specifically for a client who is a couturier ( a designer/brand that has been legally defined as so because the design house has met rigid French requirements).  Constructed by hand in most cases, by the most skilled designers and artisans working together for couturiers, some of the finest vintage jewelry was made…  The roots of haute couture jewelry began in France before the 20s, with Paul Pioret and Vionnet using the idea of selling a whole couture outfit. They would create the jewelry or hire producers like Griopix to make a piece specifically for the outfit or client. Yet, the idea of replacing fine luxury status jewelry with “imitation” has and always will be somewhat a matter of taste. While it seems in the mid 20s and beyond the makers of jewelry for haute couture were overshadowed by their clients: Chanel, Schiaparelli, Lanvin etc… artists like Roger Scemama, who created couture fashion jewelry have begun to take their place in history. Per the basic French definition- the designer creating haute couture must be established as a house producing and a showing a set number of items per season. They go as far to say that house must have a working location in Paris and meet legal requirements.  Thus, one of a kind Robert Goossens jewelry for the runway or those he made for specifically for one of Chanel’s clients would be an example of haute couture fashion jewelry made for a certified couturier. We do use the term loosely here in the U.S. Since pieces of privately commissioned fine jewelry may seem to fit this definition, it is important to state, that all those fine examples in some instances could be considered fashion jewelry, but not couture- because they are produced by jewelers not established elite fashion houses who were certified couturiers. I wanted to sort of make sure we define fashion, fine and haute couture jewelry all in relationship to one another and this list of texts I have complied will help to do so.

The most practical way to address the idea of haute couture jewelry today, might be to take the term “high fashion jewelry”, as Florence Muller uses it in Costume Jewelry for Haute Couture, and apply it to couture quality examples made outside of French couturiers. Thus reserving jewelry for haute couture for the true pieces and high fashion jewelry for others.  Florence explains more about the complexities. In summary of her words on page  9,  the “couture jewelry” created for runway looks were often uncredited examples of the “paruriers” in relationship to the publicly praised fashion houses they created for, the pieces often just being signed made in France. This makes defining and understanding couture jewelry a bit complex. Also, what of the couture quality pieces not produced in Paris? I think the definition of haute couture jewelry that she gives on the jacket cover is perhaps a great building block:

“From Coco Chanel in the 1920s to Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s to Lanvin today, haute couture costume jewelry has been an eye-catching accessory to enhance a designer’s vision. The dazzling one of a kind jewelry was designed by skilled artisans to complement and adorn individual couture pieces for fashion shows and photo shoots”( Costumer Jewelry for Haute Couture, Florence Muller).

Veterans like Erickson Beamon personify the current genre of fashion jewelry.  The one of a kind examples made by hand I witness for Anna Sui S/S 2015 collection would fit right in that definition of high fashion jewelry. “High fashion jewelry” can also be used to describe these runway and one of a kind creations by the likes of Goossens and his son today. Although some would fall into the definition of couture when created under those specifications discussed..while others would just be fashion jewelry. As the demand for fashion jewelry grew they produced a couture line and a fashion line produced off of the runway models each season in larger quantities.  Houses, designers, and brands such as Dior, Chanel, Coppola e Toppo, Gripoix, Lanvin, Kenneth Jay Lane, Pierre Cardin, Robert Goosens, Schiaparelli, Mimi di N  and many others have forged the foundation for our notions about how fashion relates to jewelry. To me the basic use of the term fashion jewelry is really about costume jewelry that has taken an extra step. Perhaps it is successful costume jewelry that pays homage to fashion history and future, plays with scale, has whimsey, a certain taste level and attention to design…. When discussing fashion jewelry in relationship to costume- a great foundational quote would be:

“Whether they were produced in minute made-to-order quantities for French fashion houses or in considerable numbers for mass market in America, these jewels fabricated in non precious stones, continue to amaze by their constant originality, their joyful exuberance, and their ingenious compositions. Without the financial constraints and technical obligations of priceless gems, costume jewelry provided the perfect creative freedom for designers to express an astonishing spectrum of signature styles, continually evolving with the latest fashion trends. Instead of concentrating on the size cut, and clarity of a stone, a myriad of costume jewelers developed true expressions and unique creation. In a reversal of roles that pays wonderful tribute to their inventiveness, contemporary fine jewelry is now inspired directly by the whimsical imagination and structural liberties of costume pieces” Pamela Golbin, Forward for Fashion Jewelry The Collection of Barbara Berger.

Snapshot from inside of the Fashion Jewelry book, by Harice Simons Miller, from my collection. Image by Pablo Esteva.

Snapshot from inside of the Fashion Jewelry book, by Harice Simons Miller, from my collection. Image by Pablo Esteva.

Thus beyond what is created for the runway or even couturiers lets look at- “costume jewelry” examples by brands from Trifari to Kenneth Jay Lane. They have also created great examples of fashion jewelry. With that said I would not call everything Trifari has created fashion jewelry. Now what about “fine” fashion jewelry, isn’t that contradictory? One could argue that for the sake of what’s happening in terms of contemporary jewelry design we must entertain it…. Well, beyond the stones and scale- what is most important to a successful piece of fine jewelry influenced by fashion?  I think it is about design, as it references fashion trends/styles in its fine form.  I think if there is an era where fine jewelry has a turning point towards fashion, it is the late 50s-60s, ushered in part by creative fashion inspired patrons who started bringing in commissions to fine jewelers such as Van Cleef & Arpels.

This idea of a “fine” fashion influenced jewelry evolution is interesting… also with jewelers who began using fine metals and less precious stones, woods, shells and such like Verdura, David Webb, Grima, Seaman Shepps…etc. Overall though the scale to obtain the whimsey of fashion jewelry is limited by the monetary worth of the medium.  Currently, we are now seeing a flip in terms of fine and fashion jewelry with “lesser” metals so to speak (like silvers, rhodium, brass) mixed with diamonds- fine and precious stones.

So as the term fashion jewelry evolves: here are some great texts for avid admirers and beginners alike. 

Fashion and Couture Jewelry Texts:

Costume Jewelry for Haute Couture. Florence Muller. Edited by Patrick Sigal. Vendome Press. New York.  -This latest 2007 edition, with the green jewelry cover can be hard to find -current examples are found here. Explore the links and be sure to ask for the edition you want.  The first in 2006 by Grand Hornu press, I believe had a cream colored necklace on the cover. It is found now on ebay.
* I have embedded links to amazon and other sources for purchase when possible. Also some are not in English so take note when ordering:
The Art of Fashion Accessories: A Twentieth Century Retrospective. 1993 Joanne Dubbs Ball/ Dorothy Hehl Torem.
Jewelry by Chanel. 2012. Patrick Mauriès
Dior Joaillerie. 2012. Michele Heuze. Victoire de Castellane.
American Fashion Accessories. 2008. by Candy Pratts PriceJessica GlasscockArt Tavee.
Drawing Jewels for Fashion. 2011. Carol Woolton  
Maison Goosens. Haute Couture Jewelry. Patrick Mauries. Thames & Hudson.
Dior. The three set series. published by Assouline. Specifically the Jewelry edition inside. Unfortunately cannot be purchased separately, but if you like Dior this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Vintage Jewelry Design: Classics to Collect & Wear (Vintage Fashion Series), 2011
by Caroline Cox and Gerda Flockinger.
Fashion for Jewels: 100 Years of Styles and Icons. 2010. Carol Woolton.
Fashion Jewelry, The Collection of Barbara Berger. 2013
Fashion Jewellery: Made in Italy Hardcover.  2013.
Jewels of Fantasy: Costume Jewelry of the 20th Century. 1992.
Coppola e Toppo. 2010.
Fashion Jewelry: Catwalk and Couture.  2010.
by Maia Adams  
Books that Bridge the World of Costume and Fashion Jewelry:
Bijoux Paperback by Deanna Farneti Cera  
Miller’s Costume Jewellery, Hardcover, 2012. Judith Miller.
Fabulous Fakes: A Passion for Vintage Costume Jewelry 2006. Carole Tanenbaum.
Kenneth Jay Lane. Faking it. By Kenneth Jay Lane. 1996. Harry N Abrams.
21st Century Jewellery Designers: An Inspired Style, 2013. Juliet Weir-de la Rouchefoucauld
Vintage Jewelry Design. Classics to Collect and Wear. Caroline Cox. 2010. Lark Crafts.
Jewelry of the Stars. Creations from Joseff of Hollywood. Joanne Dubbs Ball. 1991.
Miriam Haskell Jewelry. Cathy Gordon & Sheila Pamfiloff- Schiffer. 2nd Edition. (Haskell, really bridges that space in her designs and watercolor ads which featured fashions of the time with her jewelry).

Image from The Couture Accessory, snapshot of the book, inside pages of The Couture Accessory images.

Books of Specific Interest Related to Fashion Accessories:
The Couture Accessory. Caroline Rennolds Milbank. Harry N. Abrams.
Daphne Guinness, 2011 by Valerie SteeleAccompanied the Fit exhibit, I included it her for fashion fans, such as myself, and to highlight her use of accessories in the book’s images.
Vogue and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties, Exhibitions, People. 2014 by Hamish Bowles.  
Lou Lou de La Falaise. Ariel de Ravenel. Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni. 2014.
Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, 2012, by Conde Nast (Author), Anna Wintour (Foreword)
Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry by Elizabeth Taylor.
20th Century Jewelry & the Icons of Style, 2013 Stefano Papi, Alexandra Rhodes.
Vintage Fashion and Couture. Kerry Taylor. 2013.
Bejeweled: Great Designers, Celebrity Style, by: Penny Proddow, Marion Fasel
Fine Jewelry Books With a Fashion Approach:
Diamonds. A Century of Spectacular Jewels. Penny Proddow and Marion Fasel. 1996.
Extraordinary Jewels by John Traina. 1994.
The Windsor Style. Suzy Menkes. Salem House.
by: Hans Nadelhoffer
Boucheron: The Secret Archives. 2012
The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond, 2013
Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels, 2011
Bulgari Serpenti, 2013, by Marion Fasel
Van Cleef & Arpels: Treasures and Legends, 2014
by Vincent Meylan  (Author)
Cartier and America. 2010. Martin Chapman.
 Tiffany & Co. Hardcover – 10 Nov 1997
*Originally published January 2015.
Feel free to comment about or add texts we might have missed below. We’d love to hear from you concerning your favorites too!

The Jewels of Sunset Boulevard

“I am big. It’s the pictures that got small”….Sunset Boulevard (1950), remains an iconic film Noir classic and winner of three Academy Awards.  If you haven’t seen Gloria Swanson’s epic portrayal of Norma Desmond, an aging silent film star you must, you really must!  There are parallels of course for Swanson age 50 in the film, as she was indeed a major star with Paramount in the 20s having worked with DeMille before.  She, in her denial of her faded popularity, sucks the viewer into her delusional world with the power of great acting, and yes… a chic wardrobe filled with intensely stunning accessories.  The costume design and accessorizing done by Edith Head of course! Having completed my doctorate degree in visual anthropology and taught a course on it, the importance of what media reveals about cultures through images and material culture is vast.

Joe, the struggling writer, played by William Holden is certainly sucked into her gilded cage from the time he pulls into her mansion’s driveway.  While the once lux home is showing signs of its age outside, underneath it all Norma still has lots of cash-so to speak. However; its the camera and love that she still craves.   While there have been various articles about the famous film… I mean her devoted butler is a whole other story analysis….

However; I would argue that the inside house decor and her wardrobe are important characters as well!  The home provides a decadent Noir visual feast as does Norma herself, in one dramaticly and well accessorized old hollywood outfit after another. She seemingly comes out accessorized one way, but then slowly reveals more as the camera pans to other layers of jewels that the viewer just didn’t see at first glance. While it is all a bit over the top, there are some inspiring pieces to behold.

There really is a whole complex article to be written about what this film says about our culture, but let’s stick to the jewelry facts!

I give you my favorite accessorizes from Norma’s Noir closet-



Norma as she pulls Joe into her private New Year’s party. Notice the stack of amazing deco arm candy and that brooch which appears as the camera pans wider. Sarara Couture, screen shot.

NormaNewYears Eve

One of my favorite shots from the film: the New Year’s Eve party as it ends. The jewels could be a mix of fine and paste, but either way they are stunning. Sarara Couture, screen shot.



Earlier scene between Joe and Norma as she lounges in this interesting scarf necklace. Screen shot, Sarara Couture.

And then she finally completely looses it in the final scene, but not before she adds an amazing serpent arm cuff–


The final bow for Norma, as she descends the stairs amongst the police. She is ready for the final closeup. Notice the glam long Egyptian Assuit shawl, popular int he 1920s. As she comes down the stairs we see how long it is and what is attached. Screen Shot, Sarara Couture.



Again another, fab glam brooch and the most fantastic Egyptian revival Snake armband. Again, drawing on her image as a silent film star during the golden age. The importance of these accessories in setting the mood is fundamental. Screen shot, Sarara Couture.

*Some of her iconic jewels and accessories used in this film were auctioned off in 1983 by William Doyle Auction House.




Watches Are Dead? Not So Fast

In this increasingly technology and time obsessed world, it seems that one need only look to their iphone for the time….. But what’s the fun in that?  Lately, after spying some wonderful costume and fine art deco era watches with hidden faces, I had been rethinking the watch. Many of these were created with appearance of a well designed chunky link bracelet or cuff.

1970s Piaget malachite watch.

1970s Piaget malachite watch, available via invaluable.com.

This week’s finds focuses on a watch to make you want to wear them all over again.  I spotted it on invaluable.com when I ventured into their large array of vintage watches.  Stand out examples on the site included stunning 20s platinum pieces and an amazing 1930s women’s rolex, seen above.  However, the Piaget that caught my eye was not to be outdone. It’s 18k gold “esclave” style thick woven cuff band, malachite face and overall 1970s swagger, make it a tough one to beat.  Created in the early 1970’s and designed by Jean-Paul Gueit. Icons like Elizabeth Taylor favored the brand. Jean-Paul is still at Piaget today. Similar designs are in museums and private collections.

Turquoise and Lapis example from the Piaget.com gallery. Image by Piaget.

Turquoise and Lapis example from the Piaget.com gallery. Image by Piaget.

The Piaget headquarters house similar important era examples at their “galleries” in Geneva, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The brand was started in 1874 by Georges-Edouard Piaget at the age of 19. If you like the look of their watches, then you should see some of the other jewelry pieces found in the online gallery of exhibit quality and collection examples seen here.

The coveted malachite watch goes on the auction block available to online bidders via the invaluable.com platform and auction house A.B. Levy’s, Jan 22nd with a $4,000 starting bid. Now that’s a watch to bring the sexy back to telling time!

Similar vintage Piaget example from the Piaget.com gallery. Image by Piaget.

Similar vintage Piaget example from the Piaget.com gallery. Image by Piaget.


Gold coral watch necklace example from the Piaget.com gallery. Image by Piaget.

Gold coral watch necklace example from the Piaget.com gallery. Image by Piaget.

Egyptian Revival YSL Necklace sells for $8,000

Charles A. Whitaker Auction Company Image. See complete listing here.

This necklace was quite frankly stunning and a great example of the 70s Egyptian Revival style.  It was part of the Fall Couture Fashion and Textile Auction held by Charles A. Whitaker Auction Company.  Here is a link to some of the lots sold during the November 28-29th auction.

Charles A. Whitaker Auction Company Image. Fortuny Delphos Gown. Sold lot.

Their vintage couture and designer auctions have some must have items for the serious collector. Examples like 1950s Christian Dior, French 1920s Couture and a Fortuny Delphos  1930s Gown
appeared on the block. 
Stunning as the YSL necklace is I don’t think anyone expected it realize same price that of the Delphos gown was estimated to sell for that day. I know I was not prepared for the final price when the gavel hit-$8,000!

Now I had my eye on this particular piece and actually purchased some others items from them for my store/collection.  That said the original auction estimate was around $250 which did not seem unreasonable until you look closer.  From what I know of YSL there were the designer level pieces made by Monet for YSL with a cut out YSL in the horizontal box, the signed and numbered or Limited edition items and then couture jewelry. Tag style of course letting you in on which is which. However, tags are not always the whole story as this tag below can be on couture and non couture pieces. Many of the haute couture pieces confirmed my same collector source have no tag. Whatever the reason for the sale price, I was stunned at that necklace and many other wonderful vintage pieces of fashion that day. After speaking to a very knowledgeable collector of YSL jewelry she confirmed it was haute couture and very special having obvious influence from the African collection. She also was pretty sure if “something YSL goes that high the Yves Saint Laurent foundation is probably bidding”. See the link for more on the auction company and their upcoming events. As of now the November 2012 auction is up but this link will be updated closer to the next sale. 

Close up image of tag. Charles A. Whitaker Auction Company Image.

Frida Kahlo’s Dresses, Jewelry, and Mexican Vogue


Yes, this actually happened. Frida Kahlo’s jewelry and personal wardrobe was kept sealed until now….

Pieza de Oaxaca, ca. 1932. Via Museo Frida Kahlo website.

“When Kahlo passed just after her 47th birthday, her husband and fellow artist, Diego Rivera, began placing her most personal belongings into a bathroom of their Mexico City house. Upon Rivera’s death in 1957, their home, also known as La Casa Azul or “The Blue House,” became the Museo Frida Kahlo. But shortly before Rivera died, he gave instructions to a close personal friend, Dolores Olmedo, that the room containing Frida’s wardrobe should stay locked for the next 15 years. Olmedo took Rivera’s request so seriously that she ultimately decided to keep the room sealed until her own death” (Collector’s Weekly, Hunter Oatman-Stanford).

A selection of native Tehuana looks on view at the Museo Frida Kahlo exhibition. Photo by Miguel Tovar.

The exhibit, Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo tells the story in visual splendor! How did I miss this? I mean it started November 2012…. I am obsessed with how Frida used gender and indigenous identity in her clothing and jewelry. I really relate to that style. The Collector’s weekly article about the exhibit and Frida’s uncovered wardrobe/jewelry was riveting, so even if you thought you missed the exhibit (THEY HAVE EXTENDED IT UNTIL SEPT 2014) or can’t make it to the blue house- it’s a great read:

The book which covers the photographs taken as they unpacked her belongings, 

Frida by Ishiuchi, can be preordered now.  The items in Frida’s closet are currently on display at her museum and former home, La Casa Azul in Mexico City. The exhibition is a partnership between Vogue Mexico and the museum.

Here is to hoping that the exhibit will make it to the United States and we can get a glimpse into the alluring and complex mind of Frida Kahlo through her clothing and accessories.  I cannot bear to think about the jewelry!

Image Vogue Mexico.

1960s Fashion and Accessories Images: Harper’s Bazaar March 1967

Neal Barr Cover image for Harper’s Bazaar, restored here and scanned.

Many fashion buffs enjoy historic magazine and fashion photographs.  During my collecting of these pieces for my vintage jewelry/accessories archive, I ran across the March 1967 Harper’s Bazaar magazine! The Neal Barr cover is visually stunning from the earrings to the graphic Burke-Amey dress. Not to mention the mod images of couture, watches, jewelry, and shoes found inside. I am thinking as of now of enlarging and printing my restored version of the cover. I will be including specific vintage images of jewelry and watches as usual on my instagram account. However, I wanted to put together a visual feast from the magazine for my readers:

Silk lined Halston hat, Malcom Marshall dress. All images scanned from the vintage Harper’s Bazaar March 1967 issue for educational historical use.
Catherine Speak, Vendome mod watch. All images scanned from the vintage Harper’s Bazaar March 1967 issue.
1960s Movado watch, Mod Tire design.All images scanned from the vintage Harper’s Bazaar March 1967 issue.
Oscar de la Renta diamante prance suit. Like body jewelry!All images scanned from the vintage Harper’s Bazaar March 1967 issue.
Yves Saint Laurent, Jeweled short jumper. Shell and beads. All images scanned from the vintage Harper’s Bazaar March 1967 issue.
Charles Jourdan Mod shoes and tights, 1967.All images scanned from the vintage Harper’s Bazaar March 1967 issue.
Silk turban and dress, Halston.All images scanned from the vintage Harper’s Bazaar March 1967 issue.
Mod Penn- Carol tights and lingerie by Fischer. All images scanned from the vintage Harper’s Bazaar March 1967 issue.