Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Luxury, Authenticity & Adornment

Isabel Clara Eugenia by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz., 1598

Luxury adornment is a common category including jewelry, cosmetics and fragrance. Authenticity is an added value to the luxury good that comes through the originality in design and production and/or the meaning invested into it. This may be through some type of customization of the good or by sentimentality, such as an heirloom. Above a painting of Enfanta Isabella holding a locket of her father. The personalization of luxury goods increases their mystical value and provides an impression of being irreplacable.

Above and below awards from the Napoleon III era were specific marks of authentic honor that were in fact mass produced for many recipients.

Above customized luxury adornment, left the 20th anniversary gift for the Duchess of Windsor by Cartier 1957 and right Grace Kelly's tiara by Van Cleef & Arpels, 1976. Below two authentic designs by Dali that have been mass produced as costume jewelry, left Eye of Time, 1949 and right Ruby Lips, 1949.

Below the artisan originality continues in the limited edition silver and gold designs of Aurelie Bidermann.

Above and below the Dior boutique at Place Vendome. Some luxury brands use adornment goods to create a sense of authenticity with creative expression that lasts longer than fashion and provides lasting investments.

Above and below two more adornment extensions of Dior. Above Rene Gurau's illustrations for Dior were used to create limited edition eye shadow and below a Dior lipstick commercial "Addict" showing adornment as the essence of a luxury lifestyle but perhaps undermining the authenticity of the brand. See the video here.

Above and below Serge Lutens served as art director of the brand Shiseido, creating an original high art, luxurious feel. This took the cosmetics from luxury adornment to a product with much more added mystical value.

Below after the designer Mila Schön died, her company created fragrances remembering each decade of her creation. Fragrance is already problematic to call authentic, as most designers license out the production of scents, but in this case they were created without her and with a nostalgia to recall an abstract aspect of time.

Above and below the diamond issue is a more critical part of adornment. Due to monopolization issues De Beers moved from supplying to retailing in 2006 with a partnership with LVMH. Below while most evaluate diamonds by size, the cut will determine its original sparkle.

Above and below, jewelers of Place Vendome. Boucheron was the original jewler to sell there and the newest is Lorenz Baumer who presents himself as an authentic artist, showing inspiration and doing collaborations with companies like Swaroviski.

Above and below French speciality jeweler Marie-Helene de Taillac. Based in India, she hand selects the gemstones. Above she offers a variety of information about the essence of each stone and believes that her pieces have personalities that develop with their wearers.

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