How The Duchess of Windsor Inspired Van Cleef & Arpels' Iconic Zip Necklace
Renée Puissant, Van Cleef & Arpels' artistic director and daughter of the brand's founders, was once challenged with a request from a dear friend of the Maison, Wallis Simpson, to create a jewellery piece resembling the zip-fastener. The idea was inspired by the innovation featured in Elsa Schiaparelli's haute couture collection in Paris. It was in the late 1930s, and the European crowd was thrilled to see the American invention used in such stylish context. Wallis Simpson was amongst the fashion-forward crowd who regarded the zipper as an icon of high style.
Adding to the challenge, the jewelled piece takes the form of a necklace when unzipped and transforms into a bracelet when zipped. It took over 10 years for the Maison to perfect the piece and until today, it has remained the very heart and soul of Van Cleef & Arpels.
Since the original, which was made in 1950, various versions have come about From shorter chokers to long elegant back necklaces, each is made with precious metals like gold and platinum, stud with diamonds and coloured stones.
Explore more whimsical jewellery creations like the Zip Necklack at vancleefarpels.com.