In 1933, the Maison celebrated another wedding. Born in Monte Carlo to Russian parents, Hélène Ostrowska was a fashion model whose elegance and grace had made a powerful impression on Paris and New York’s society. Louis Arpels was the youngest of the Arpels brothers: an incredible salesman and socialite, he was blessed with a winning combination of good looks, a sense of humor, and impeccable taste.
After WWII, they crossed the Atlantic when the Arpels family established Van Cleef & Arpels’ New York branch. The move to America only increased Hélène Arpels’ social standing..
Heralded as the quintessence of French elegance, she was voted onto the world’s “10 Best-Dressed List” in 1949 and held the position for the next 10 years.
Whether strolling down 5th Avenue or the Champs-Élysées, Hélène Arpels turned heads with her dashing physique and impeccable style. Her “costumes” – as she called them – defined simple elegance and served as a backdrop for her exquisite jewels. Modern and feminine, she even liked to wear diamonds on her shoes: “After all,” she said, “diamonds go with everything.”