Dancing and finesse have lately been the key words over at Van Cleef & Arpels’ workshop. Just for Benjamin Millepied´s ballet Reflections that took place at Paris’ théâtre du Chatelet from May 23rd to the 25th, the jeweler is signing off on four creations inspired by the dance world.
Seeking perfection and emotion, attention to detail and the most delicate of refinement: numerous are the traits that this French brand has in common with the dance world. Already in 1912, Louis Arpels had the habit of leaving his office in the Place Vendôme to go to see a ballet at the Paris Opera house just a hop skip and a jump away. But it was from the other side of the Atlantic in New York that the brand’s iconic figurines were created: the ballerina and fairy clips. Dressed up in diamond tutus, rubies, or emeralds, Van Cleef & Arpels’ little dancers, while perfectly still, evoked the gracious movement of dancers through their changing reflections. The first model, the Danseuse Espagnole clip, was created in 1941. Topped off by rubies and emeralds, the body encrusted with diamonds, it was motionless and yet seemed to always be perched on the brink of an eternal attitude. The fairy clips created around the same time, the first of them being the diamond and platinum Lady Dragonfly model, were inspired by the cartoons of the era and have been enchanting the Place Vendôme-based brand ever since. Far from being as cold as the stones that compose them, these ballerinas and fairies express all the inebriating passion of dance just as well as any gesture.
Its face encrusted with diamonds, Van Cleef & Arpel’s Ballerina is never meant to represent anyone in particular, always symbolizing rather the grace that comes from an evanescent dance step. From a brooch to a timepiece, this little dancer always slips into all of the brand’s creations. On the complication watch Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée, recently presented at the latest edition of BaselWorld, it is decked out in fairy wings that change along with the time that it measures.
For the opening of the ballet Reflections by choreographer and new dance director of the Opéra National de Paris, Benjamin Millepied, the French jeweler has imagined four different creations. With a resolutely tridimensional silhouette where the body conquers space like the little rats on stage, these new dancers closely fit into the allegory of movement that is concrete for the eye but fleeting and intangible for the sense of touch. Another emblematic figure, the ballerina on a zip necklace associates the signature of Dance with that of jewelry. Far from being a lone duck, Reflections opens up a trilogy entitled Gems, proof that the dance world and Van Cleef & Arpels are really just two sides of the same coin.