Renée Puissant and René Sim Lacaze: an artistic duo

In 1926, Renée Puissant – daughter of Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels – became the Maison’s Artistic Director. Her encounter with René Sim Lacaze, a designer and creator close to Van Cleef & Arpels since 1923, set the foundation for a for an exceptionally rewarding collaboration. 

René Sim Lacaze’s talent gave concrete expression to Renée Puissant’s boldness and creativity, transforming her ideas into sketches, often annotated by the Artistic Director herself. This complementary pair contributed to forging the Maison’s distinctive style and inspired some of its most iconic pieces.  

In 1933, Van Cleef & Arpels patented the Mystery SetTM technique, which was to become a symbol of the Maison’s expertise. The years that followed also saw the birth of the Ludo bracelet – featuring first a brick-link mesh and subsequently hexagonal links – as well as the Passe-Partout, a transformable necklace enchanting for its myriad functions and its detachable clips. Finally, the Zip necklace – first designed in the 1930s and finally fashioned in 1950 – reshaped the zipper as a High Jewelry piece, attesting to the inventive spirit of this creative duo.

This collaboration continued until 1939, giving rise to a multitude of innovations and establishing a creative legacy that continues to shine even today.