September 6, 2011
In September Van Cleef & Arpels will open their first Asian Maison in Hong Kong
Following Maisons in Paris and New York, Van Cleef & Arpels ’ heart beats in Hong Kong.
Creativity, legends, innovation, tradition: an echo between two worlds
The inauguration of a third Maison is an important step for Van Cleef & Arpels and carries forward a tradition. Looking back into the history of the Maison, one finds many sources of inspiration in Asian culture. For example, in 1931, during the Exposition Coloniale, the public discovers the Orient whilst Van Cleef & Arpels imagines the Chapeau Chinois jewellery set. The Asian lands are rich with legends, and poetry is everywhere, transforming daily life and revealing hidden beauty. Chinese art relies on many symbols which are gifts to humanity, and the creative traditions of Van Cleef & Arpels has much in common with the Chinese culture: the celebration of nature’s vital force and poetry, the magic of fairies, celestial and aquatic creatures. A set of Van Cleef & Arpels jewels expresses the quintessence of creativity, of savoir-faire and of excellence: it is elevated to the status of a work of art, just like the finest Chinese porcelains.
When the Middle Kingdom invokes harmony in all things, the Maison echoes back: romance, marriage, beauty and inspiration.
The two worlds unite in the everlasting quest for perfection, in the importance given to luck, to humility and to family.
A love story, a legend
Van Cleef & Arpels was born of the love between Esther, known as Estelle, Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef. Their enthusiasm and passion for jewels lead the young couple to create a partnership with Estelle’s brothers: Charles in 1906, Julien in 1908 and then Louis in 1912. Estelle and her brothers know the secrets of precious stones, Alfred has learned the art of crafting jewellery. In 1906, they create the Van Cleef & Arpels name. Together, they nurture the blooming of an extraordinary Maison: their unique vision pinnacles Nature at its most enchanting, conquering the hearts of all those who revere beauty.
A Maison, a soul
In addition to its 89 boutiques, Van Cleef & Arpels presents its creations in three elegant and refined Maisons. They act as doorways to the discovery of a world of poetry.
The Place Vendôme Maison: at the heart of Parisian elegance
On the 16th of June 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels opens its first Maison at 22 place Vendôme, in the magnificent townhouse built by Jacques V. Gabriel in 1718.
Planned by the great architect, Jules Mansart, the place Vendôme corresponds perfectly to the Van Cleef & Arpels style. It is in this paragon of Parisian elegance that the desire to create the world’s most beautiful jewels flourishes, the most stunning pieces with the most incredible stones.
Designer Patrick Jouin successfully instills a subtle balance between modernity and the Louis XV style with striking details: Art Deco roses covered in white gold, pastel colours and intricate wood panelling, an 18th century style frieze, mirrors and a monumental Murano chandelier, all combine to create a refined ambience of harmony that is both dynamic and peaceful.
The wavelike effect of the walls, the curves of the furniture, the delicate colours, the representations of the jeweller’s natural, dreamlike world and the exquisite lighting all contribute to the visitor’s impression of welcoming comfort. Inspired by the classical architecture of the square, transformed into a contemporary showcase for all of the collections, the Place Vendôme Maison embodies the philosophy of Van Cleef & Arpels : that of eternal renewal.
The New York Maison: a magical jewel box in the city that never sleeps
Van Cleef & Arpels has been a part of New York’s luxury world for decades.
In the mid-1930s, the Mystery Setting® technique takes America by storm.
In 1937, Van Cleef & Arpels creates a ruby and diamond bracelet for Marlene Dietrich, who wears it during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Stage Fright”.
In 1939, Van Cleef & Arpels creates a sensation when it presents its creations at the New York World Fair. The Maison quickly finds a fabulous location to settle: the Rockefeller Center, at the heart of Manhattan.
America’s High Society becomes enamored with the jeweller’s innovative prowess: first Paulette Goddard, Merle Oberon, Florence Jay Gould, and Ava Gardner. Later on Sophia Loren and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, not to mention Sharon Stone, Julia Roberts,
Uma Thurman, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon and Cate Blanchett… all these celebrities who have a taste for natural sophistication are patrons of Van Cleef & Arpels .
In 1942, Van Cleef & Arpels moves to its current location at 744 Fifth Avenue.
In 2006, Van Cleef & Arpels celebrates one hundred years of precious innovation by redecorating its second Maison in Fifth Avenue.
Imagined by interior decorator Randy Ridless, the New York Maison pays tribute to the natural sophistication of its jewellery and to the women who wear it. Its welcoming atmosphere reflects the creative dynamism of the 30s. The designer instills his vision of the 21st century into this Parisian institution.
The Van Cleef & Arpels Hong Kong Maison: unique, enchanted and a bridge between two worlds
Akin to the American and Parisian locations, the Hong Kong Maison combines refinement and exclusivity in a setting that is warm and respectful of the local culture. The Maison is designed by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku.
Its unique quality: associating exceptional beauty and balance by revealing the connections between Van Cleef & Arpels and the perception of modernity in Chinese civilization.
Enter and experience absolute luxury, escape the city’s hectic pace for a moment and step into another world, dive into a sea of serenity and enchantment.
Putting the spotlight on beauty
The impressive illuminated façade of the Van Cleef & Arpels Hong Kong Maison, at 10 Chater Road, Central, in Prince’s Building, catches the attention thanks to its poetic contrast with the rest of the street.
The ornamental style, the wood panelling, the chromatic harmony of soft hues, the subtle lighting effects, the use of leather and the floral theme are all inspired by the Place Vendôme Maison. However, Van Cleef & Arpels applies a contemporary vision of its historic salons to the pulsating 21st century Asian city.
Upon crossing the threshold the visitor feels as if they are being welcomed into a real home and not a boutique. The impression is emphasized by the gigantic wood and glass staircase, the traditionally sculpted wood panelling, the wall coverings in oyster grey and beige stretch fabric, and the white gold covered garlands. The oak wood parquet flooring and its point de Hongrie design evoke a chic Parisian apartment. The interior decoration is the quintessence of refinement. The custom-made furniture is perfectly adapted to the Hong Kong lifestyle. The bas-reliefs have been streamlined and modernised, the wall mouldings use the contemporary corian material. As a reminder of the city’s hectic activity, high counters and bar stools have replaced the usual tables and chairs.
As found in Paris, the huge Murano glass chandelier is impressive: its hundreds of glass drops, traditionally blown and then hand-crafted, stream down from the mezzanine. Their transparencies and reflection enhance the charm of the Maison. This particular attention to lighting sets the stage for Van Cleef & Arpels ’ sumptuous creations, presented, not on classic busts but on life size “fairy” mannequins.
The atmosphere, combining whimsical fantasy and modernity makes this third Maison a unique and sophisticated setting, where one can experience moments that are rare, contemporary and enchanting.
Van Cleef & Arpels : an eternal renewal of enchantment, everywhere in the world