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Van Cleef & Arpels Opens its Vault For a New Exhibition

Culture Watch

There’s nothing like a trip to the jewelry vault—especially when said vault is Van Cleef & Arpels’. The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York has mounted an incredible retrospective, “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels,” highlighting jewelry, objet d’art and accessories that have influenced the history of design in the 20th century. And to connect the past to the present, the museum tapped contemporary French designer Patrick Jouin to design the exhibition.

Since its opening on the Place Vendôme in Paris in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has played a leading role in style and design innovation. Its timeless pieces have been worn by style icons including the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. This exhibition will explore the historical significance of the firm's contributions to jewelry design in the 20th century, including the establishment of Van Cleef & Arpels in New York with the advent of World War II. On view will be more than 350 works including jewels, timepieces, fashion accessories and objets d'art by Van Cleef & Arpels, many of which were created exclusively for the American market. The exhibition will examine the work through the lenses of innovation, transformation, nature as inspiration, exoticism, fashion and personalities, and will include design drawings from the Van Cleef & Arpels archives. On view February 18 through June 5, 2011; www.cooperhewitt.org.

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