|An Exercise in Style: Van Cleef & Arpels
|Fashion, Jewelry Design, Book
|7 December 2015
|Hardcover, 26.3 x 3.3 x 21.1 cm
232 pages, 70 color and 70 b&w illustrations
High jewellery house Van Cleef & Arpels has joined forces with venerable French publisher Gallimard to create a luxurious book that reflects the high standards of craftsmanship and style that the two houses have in common. Titled “An Exercise in Style”, the 230-page hardcover comes in a cream-coloured box case and contains a handpicked “vocabulary” of 25 concepts that are part of Van Cleef & Arpels’ identity and savoir faire. Each of these concepts is accompanied by a typical dictionary definition, photos of Van Cleef & Arpels’ jewellery and archival images, and contributions from notable personalities, some of whom are friends and collaborators of the maison.
The unusual line-up of contributors includes artists, an algebraist, a fashion creator, designers, authors, a gardener, a choreographer, an astrophysicist, photographers, an opera singer, a watchmaker, a starred chef and a philosopher — all of whom give their own definition of the word or concept assigned to them. For example, the book opens with the word Love, for which acclaimed opera singer Natalie Dessay provided a facsimile of the original score of an aria from Charles Gounod’s opera Romeo and Juliet. A few pages down, algebraist Laurent Derobert concocted an equation that can calculate LUCK in relation to happiness and pleasure. The book ends with a drawing by Lanvin’s creative director Alber Elbaz, inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels’ signature Zip necklaces.
Marking each chapter in the book are intricate laser-cut paperworks depicting fairies and other imagery related to Van Cleef & Arpels’ designs; delicate, elaborate and perfectly designed, these creative “intermissions” subtly remind us that it is not by chance that Gallimard is one of the leading publishing houses in the world. The book “An Exercise in Style” was released in early October 2015 and is already available through various vendors online.