Monday, December 6, 2010

Do as the Duchess

This holiday why don't you do as the Duchess of Windsor and swan about in a well, a large swan brooch from Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.

The Duchess of Windsor had the most spectacular jewelry collection and a definite sense of style.  Wallis Simpson was not a great beauty but absolutely made the most out of what she had by being true to herself and what looked good on her.  It was a look Bettina Ballard would have described as defining the "hard chic" of the 1930s.  But in Cecil Beaton's 1937 romantic photos of her wedding trouseau for Vogue in which the bride to be wore an ethereal (and my dream gown I might add.  How I would love to find this dress for myself.  Ooops!  I mean for RARE☺) fluttering organdy lobster print dress by Elsa Schiaparelli at the Chateau de  Candé.

In Cecil Beaton's book 'Photography' he remembers Wallis Simpson at this time having "the trim  silhouette of a Chinese figurine".

Recently someone made a very good return on their investment with the sale of some of the jewelry formerly from the collection of the Duchess of Windsor.  Included was this exceptional flamingo brooch made for the Duchess by Cartier in 1940.

So why don't you do as the Duchess and wear this impressive large scale three-dimensional swan brooch from Chanel.  It is spectacular and special as well as very rare and an excellent collector's piece.  (Wouldn't this make an incredible gift for the Duchess in your life?  And that Duchess may be you!!)

The swan is covered in faux pearls and has a jeweled blue eye.  Attached to the swan is a jeweled cruciform shaped medallion with ruby, pearl and turquoise cabochons and attached to that is a drop pearl.  More, more, more is how Karl likes it!

A flight of fancy.

Signed Chanel.  Made in France.
Early 1980s Chanel Swan Brooch.

You can also do as the Duchess by wearing this anonymous gold panther belt from the 1960s.

From the Sotheby's catalog:  "The Duchess of Windsor had several 'cat' jewels in her collection which began with the emerald brooch in 1948 and this particular area of her collection was continued to be added to over the next twenty years."

Images from Sothebys

I know, I know you were just outbid at the last moment on the Duchess of Windsor's articulated Cartier panther bracelet.  ☹ $4,200,000 was my cut off too (☺)

But don't be depressed because we have this very fab gold coil belt with two gold panther heads.  Most of what we have at RARE is designer but I especially love finding anonymous pieces like this that are cool and fun.  And cost WAY less then a Cartier panther! 

Maybe the cat jewelry was Wallis Simpson's way of saying, I am the Duchess of Windsor, hear me roar!

Anonymous 1960s panther belt.


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