Van Cleef & Arpels advertising campaign for the Minaudière - All rights reserved
A treasure trove of over 60 precious fashion accessories – including vanity cases, Minaudières™, powder compacts and purses – from the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection is on display at the Stoleshnikov boutique from October 1 to 30, 2016 on the occasion of “Minaudières & Bags: Precious accessories from the 1920s to the 1960s”. More than just an accessory, these nécessaires de beauté embody the history of decorative art.
Each piece showcased at this exhibition has been selected with an eye for its art historical significance, imaginative design, strong craftsmanship, taste and – of course – its beauty.
Persian inspiration cigarette case, 1927 Platinum, yellow gold, amethysts, enamel, mother-of-pearl, diamonds
The 1920s was a decade that emphasized a new freedom for women and their art de vivre. This new era made it socially acceptable for a woman to primp and smoke in public or take out a mirrored compact at the table to check her face or powder her nose. This explains the development of the bags that were such a feature of the Art Deco period. Designed to hold the equipment of an evening, handbags have been strongly influenced by social changes, such as the development of money, jewelry and smoking.
Souvenir cigarette case for the Nice aviation meeting, 1922 Gold, sapphires. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
Ever since its foundation, Van Cleef & Arpels has created special orders for its clients inspired by significant occasions in the worlds of art, literature, politics, sport and science or events in the private sphere.
This yellow gold cigarette case was created in 1920, then transformed in 1922. It was commissioned by Jeanne Harding from the Nice Opera. It bears the signature of several famous pilots who took part in the first aviation meeting in Nice, on the Côte d’Azur.
Minaudière and its bag, 1938 Gold, black lacquer, diamonds, satin Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
Over the following decade, the nécessaire evolved into an ingenious beauty case named the Minaudière: an exclusive Van Cleef & Arpels invention from 1933 that contributed to the Maison’s renown.
The Minaudière contained the numerous accessories required by a “modern” elegant lady for an evening at the theater or opera, a cocktail party or a dinner: watch, lipstick, make-up, dance card, cigarette holder, opera glasses, powder compact, lighter, pillbox, candy box, handkerchief case and a pocketbook.
Le Lac powder case, 1949 Platinum, gold, rubies, emeralds, diamonds Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
While the decoration of Minaudière covers from the 1930s was very simple – sometimes just a guilloché or engraved design, with the clasp providing the only decorative motif – models from the mid-1940s and 1950s were fancy and colorful. The designs were inspired by nature, an emblematic theme much prized at Van Cleef & Arpels.
Purse, 1971 Design created in the 1960s Gold, diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels Collection
The 1960s saw the birth of evening bags in woven yellow gold, inspired by fabrics. They were soberly decorated with diamond clasps and handles made of a twisted cord motif. They came “en suite” with necklaces and tassel bracelets of similar design, as evidenced by the twisted Cord necklace purchased by HRH Soraya of Iran.