Van Cleef & Arpels - The Luxury of Luck
With the launch of their latest collection, Palais de la Chance, Nicolas Bos tells us how Van Cleef & Arpels maintains its relevance in the modern world of luxuryby Lindsay McCallum
“Pour avoir de la chance, il faut croire en la chance.” – Jacques Arpels
Throughout the history of Van Cleef & Arpels, a special emphasis has been placed on luck, love and happiness. The maison was founded by the couple Alfred Van Cleef and Esther Arpels in 1906, and has stayed true to its roots ever since. To Nicolas Bos, Van Cleef & Arpels’ Worldwide CEO and Creative Director, the “very concept of luck has been a kind of transversal inspiration and value for the house.” In the latest collection, Palais de la Chance, Bos reinvented the fundamental symbols of luck into an iconic collection for the modern luxury era.
After delving into extensive research about the way various world cultures view luck, and the mysteries surrounding luck, Bos and his team created an exquisite collection of fine jewellery centred around three themes: Your Lucky Star, Lucky-Charm Nature, and Lucky Legends. (Below, a Lucky Charm Nature piece).
This poetic collection draws inspiration from stories across the seven seas, and is the ultimate expression of Van Cleef & Arpels’ standards of lightness, movement and femininity. In keeping with its reputation for creativity and excellence, the maison has sought out dazzling ‘Pierres de Caractère,’ selected using the most rigorous criteria.
One of the stars of the collection is the Sept Étoiles necklace and earrings, highlighting a rare collection of seven cushion-cut sapphires weighing 33.73 carats, and an assortment of exquisite diamonds. Other pieces draw on symbols such as clovers, ladybugs, the iconic butterfly, the Chinese panchang woven knot, and ancient Egyptian motifs.
Bos, who took over the creative reins in 2000, believes the key to keeping this maison alive and well in the modern era is to find the balance between timelessness and relevance, something that is unique to the luxury jewellery industry.
“At the end of the day, I don’t believe modernity means you have to change or really adapt to the style or identity of the day, I think it’s more about relevance,” says Bos, who aims to create collections that remain true to the soul of Van Cleef & Arpels, without ever becoming repetitive.
In the eyes of Nicolas Bos, it is the world of luxury that has evolved over the last century, not the nature of luxury jewellery in particular. “The interest in exceptional pieces, craftsmanship, and objects that go way beyond their functionality has always been there and will always be there,” declares Bos.(In the photo below, working on a piece in the Your Lucky Star collection).
Van Cleef & Arpels was the first high jewellery maison to open a public storefront in Place Vendôme and since the beginning, it has worked to dispel the idea that luxury jewellery has to be exclusive through endeavours such as L’École Van Cleef & Arpels, their fine jewellery school. Bos continues to show that fine jewellery is a fascinating endeavour, and that “…it’s not only a world for billionaires, it’s a world for creation.”
As Van Cleef & Arpels gets ready for the upcoming Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris, the most important exhibition of fine jewellery, art and antiques in the world, he feels confident that Palais de la Chance will show that the maison still sits at the top when it comes to the modern world of haute joaillerie.