Van Cleef & Arpels’ new collection of High Jewelry is inspired by a well-known fairy tale, Peau d’Âne. Suffused with enchantment, in its homage to the story of this young princess, the Maison has revisited several of its favorite themes: the feminine figures born in the 1940s, a charmed nature, the delicacy of couture adornments and the language of romance. This graceful, fairylike atmosphere is complemented by the magic of gems Pierres de Caractère™ in exceptional ensembles, uniquely subtle gradations of shades and spellbinding cuts for the stones. The creations bring a bejeweled fairy tale to life and evoke a rich array of emotions, from wonder through to love.
The Maison has been sensitive to the poetry of fairy tales ever since its foundation. In the 1940s, that poetry found graceful expression in its fairy clips. These feminine figures distinguished, like the ballerinas, by their rose-cut diamond faces soon captivated collectors with their winged silhouettes symbolizing joy and hope. Bearing magic wands or headdresses of precious stones, they have established themselves as a veritable signature, accompanying Van Cleef & Arpels with their benevolent presence. Over the decades, the Maison has perpetuated this art of enchantment in creations that instill a dreamlike sense of wonder. Beguiled by stories and legends, it has invited unicorns, dragons and phoenixes into its world and drawn inspiration for new collections in works of the imagination. After its tributes to the myth of Atlantis and Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Van Cleef & Arpels now celebrates the enchanting fairy tale Peau d’Âne with another bejeweled narration. One of France’s most popular fairy tales, Peau d’Âne was brought to a wide audience by Charles Perrault’s version, first published in 1694. Written entirely in verse, it was later added to the collection Contes de ma mère l’Oye (Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités), which also included La Belle au Bois dormant (Sleeping Beauty), Le Petit Chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding Hood) and Cendrillon (Cinderella). The original version regarded as a literary classic was followed by numerous variations and adaptations, like that of the Brothers Grimm in the early 19th century. In 1970, the French director Jacques Demy made a film that captivated the general public with its highly colored aesthetic, its imaginative power and its well-known songs to music by Michel Legrand. The king was played by Jean Marais and the princess by Catherine Deneuve, resplendent in her specially designed costumes. This year, the Maison contributes its own brand-new interpretation of Charles Perrault’s story. The characters of the princess and the good fairy, the escape into the forest and the encounter with the prince form the heart of its latest collection of High Jewelry: “Peau d’Âne raconté par Van Cleef & Arpels”.
Van Cleef & Arpels has once again displayed the gemstone expertise that has always been its hallmark. Diamonds, fine and hard stones, pearls and coral form an incredible palette, enabling the Maison to reflect the full range of feelings and atmospheres that make up the tale. Love suggested by the intensity of a ruby or a pink sapphire weighing over 28 carats is also embodied in the green of emeralds, symbolizing the romance between the prince and princess. Remarkable for their clarity, their intense color or the distinct charm of their old-style cuts, Pierres de Caractère have been carefully selected by Van Cleef & Arpels’ gemologists to instill each piece with a unique emotion. Alongside the quest for exceptional stones possessed with a spiritual quality, special care has been taken over the associations of materials. Whether delicate, daring or rich in contrasts, they grace creations that suggest the castle where Peau d’Âne grew up, the protective refuge of the forest or the splendor of the wedding ceremony. Highly characteristic of the Maison, this language of color achieves one of its most subtle expressions in the three clips devoted to Peau d’Âne’s dresses. Sapphires, tourmalines, turquoise, garnets and spinels combine to express the ineffable, evoking the nuances of the Sky, the Moon and the Sun in dazzling harmonies.