Van Cleef & Arpels revive the Zip necklace, so beloved of the Duchess of Windsor, who approached the house with a suggestion for an audacious new jewellery design that first came to light in the early 1950's. Coinciding with the Haute Couture shows, the house launches four spanking new Zips, a clear link between jewellery and couture. Van Cleef & Arpels, to those in the know, is the maison to head to for technically advanced jewellery. In the 1930's house pioneered 'mystery setting' which allowed stones to be set without any metal visible, possible thanks to hidden rails along which individually cut stones with special grooves slide into position. The Duchess of Windsor knew of Van Cleef & Arpels' prowess in micro-engineering so proposed to the artistic director Renée Puissant, to create a jewel based on that new-fangled clothes fastener, the Zip. How quaint, the Duchess may have said, to make the everyday into a jewel. And the challenge became a sketch in 1938 and in 1951 a reality: the gold and diamond zip that converted into a bracelet was to grace the Duchess's decolleté or dangle provocatively down her back. The Zip design lay dormant for almost 50 years, until Van Cleef & Arpels decided to revive the design and this year sees four new Zips. A strong Art Deco style with geometric designs and bold colours dominate the four examples and for the first time, the famous Zips zing with colour. My favourite is the turquoise and bright green chrysophase version, but I would happily zip myself into any one of these creations.
View the Zip necklace at the Oscars