VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
The Love Affair Continues
October 08, 2013
When Alfred Van Cleef fell in love with Estelle Arpels it was a love affair that would last forever, encapsulated for eternity in the Van Cleef & Arpels brand. Alfred was the son of a stonecutter and Estelle the daughter of a dealer in precious stones; in 1906 they set up shop at 22 Place Vendôme in Paris, the most romantic city in the world.
This love of tradition and family expertise is one that has passed from generation to generation, creating a world-renowned brand that embodies enchantment and sophistication. The history pages of this renowned maison are full of celebrities and royalty dazzling in their Van Cleef & Arpels creations. Admired, coveted and worn with pride by legends of yesteryear, such as Elizabeth Taylor, to modern day stars like Adele (who performed at this year’s Oscars wearing Van Cleef & Arpels), this is a brand that is as timeless as it is classic.
In an interview with Today’s Outlook, Alban Belloir, Managing Director Middle East and India, talked about Van Cleef & Arpels’ timeless creations and the brand’s expansion plans, particularly in the Middle East. With nine boutiques in the Middle East and another set to open in Abu Dhabi at the end of this year, Van Cleef & Arpels’ presence in the region is going from strength to strength. “The Middle East has been one of the fastest growing regions in the world over the past few years. We have a strong following and loyal clientele base here and we will continue building our existing boutique network. Our objective is to maintain the exclusivity of our distribution, through mono-branded boutiques only,” says Belloir.
Van Cleef & Arpels never ceases to amaze with its exquisite jewelry and stunning timepieces. The latest “Palais de la Chance” High Jewelry collection, launched in September 2012, is a fabulous collection that revolves around the theme of luck, encapsulating a wondrous vision with inspiration drawn from legends, symbols, nature and zodiac. Other collections are equally spectacular and feature unique pieces such as the magnificent Scent of Jasmine necklace from the Bals de Légende collection, and the stunning Pirale necklace from the Papillon collection. Another eye-catching and innovative design is the Zip necklace. Originally inspired by the Duchess of Windsor, this ingenious masterpiece uses the principal of the zip, enabling it to be worn two ways – open as a necklace or closed as a bracelet. These and other stunning creations highlight Van Cleef & Arpels’ innovation, novelty, savoir-faire and incredible craftsmanship.
As well as designing unique pieces and collections, Van Cleef & Arpels welcomes new designs from clients. “We take commissions – we want to match the need and inspiration of our clients and deliver the ultimate luxury. Very few jewelry maisons in the world are able to reach this level of service where you can create exactly what the client wants,” says Belloir.
Although pieces are not specifically designed for a particular region Belloir admits certain parts of the world are inspirational in Van Cleef & Arpels’ designs. “We want our creations to have universal appeal, still the Middle East and the Orient have been a very rich source of inspiration for our designers. For instance, with the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922, a new kind of jewelry was created, inspired by Egyptian motifs and symbols. More recently, the “Palais de la Chance” High Jewelry collection featured the Oriental-inspired Main de Fatma earrings,” he says.
The world of high-end jewelry is of constant captivation to many that wonder exactly what transpires behind hallowed workshop doors. In 2012 L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels was launched; a one-of-a-kind school that throws open those very doors and casts light on the secretive world of luxurious jewelry. “L’Ecole offers a unique opportunity to discover and learn, particularly for those who are passionate about jewelry, lovers of beauty or anyone who wishes to acquire inside knowledge of this fascinating world,” explains Belloir. Located at Place Vendôme, where the very essence of jewelry lies, the school enables you to meet experts, experience materials, and to literally be in the heart of the savoir-faire. It’s an initiative that Belloir is proud to be associated with. “It is a unique creation perfectly tailored to the values of excellence of our maison,” he says.
Despite the uncertainty of the global economy Van Cleef & Arpels continues to perform well worldwide. “The exclusivity of our boutique network, the singularity of our creations and the excellence of our service are very strong assets in a volatile environment,” says Belloir. With pieces guaranteed to retain their value, if not increase, they are seen as an investment. “Unlike generalists, Van Cleef & Arpels has always focused on its field of expertise, jewelry and timepieces, which is a strong reassurance for our clientele. Last but not least, our creations gain value over time and rank among the highest priced pieces at auctions.”
A prominent player in the world of high-end jewelry, Van Cleef & Arpels will remain an internationally renowned maison in high jewelry and watchmaking. Belloir attributes this success to the brand’s recognizable signature style, its innovative techniques, exceptional quality of stones and a virtuoso craftsmanship passed on by generations of Mains d’Or.