Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Get Thee to Houston

My friends & family will be astounded when they read this - but I'm dying to get back to Texas. Not only Texas - Houston, Texas. I am so beside myself at the announcement I received in my email from the press folks at the Houston Museum of Natural Science about an important show going up in November.

Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler in The Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault at the Houston Museum of Natural Science runs from Nov. 16, 2007 through Feb. 17, 2008. That is a scant four months to see some of the most brilliant and iconic jewelry designs ever created.

Some of you are puzzled, I know. I can almost hear the question: "Who is the Verdura that you speak of Magno?"

Fulco di Verdura (1898–1978) was a Sicilian Duke, but like many Dukes he had to find gainful employment and by luck he not only found employment, he found his passion and made design history. Verdura’s career began when Coco Chanel hired him as a textile designer in 1927. Chanel and Verdura found a common language in eccentric taste and modern sensibilities. Chanel and Verdura shared a fascination with jewelry and a rebellious creative vision.

Verdura's work was highly sought and worn by some of the world's most important and fashionable women including Joan Crawford; Princess Grace of Monaco; Doris Duke; Katharine Hepburn; Greta Garbo and The Duchess of Windsor. The curb-link bracelet watch, which will be on display in the exhibit, was Garbo’s favorite throughout her life. The “Garbo-watch” will sit alongside other treasures such as Coco Chanel’s original Maltese Cross Cuffs, the Wrapped Heart Brooch, the Tragedy and Comedy Mask Brooch created for Clare Luce Boothe.

In 1935, Verdura created the legendary pair of Maltese Cross Cuffs that Chanel wore throughout her life. The museum will display Coco Chanel's favorite cuffs. COCO CHANEL. Do you hear me people?

You can visit the Verdura store online for more images that make me yelp, but I can personally recommend Patricia Corbett's gorgeous book from which the show takes its name; Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler. The book makes me swoon from the beauty contained therein. I will probably get the vapors should I make it to the museum. And hello? a place called The Smith Gem Vault - I may need to be carried through the exhibit. Get thee to Houston people, and let me know what you think.

For those of us who deal with concepts and comps every day, you may appreciate the following concepts next to the finished pieces. Special thanks to the museum for the images, which totally make me swoon. I will yet have a piece of Verdura.

The shell compact:

The Lily of the Valley brooch:

The De la Renta Amoeba brooch:

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