Fashion & Jewelry Great Collaborations

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This fall, TJL takes a look at great fashion and jewelry collaborations and what makes them work. Inspired by the collaborative spirit of Schiaparelli, documented in one of our favorite books, Schiaparelli and the Artists (Rizzoli, 2017), and many others in our collection, we’ll look at such iconic pairings as Schiaparelli and Schlumberger, Chanel and Fulco di Verdura, Lagerfeld and Ugo Correani, Halston and Elsa Peretti, Donna Karan and Robert Lee Morris. Sometimes fashion designers turn to established jewelry houses to collaborate with, other times to a new face on the jewelry scene. As we research this fascinating topic, we’re asking, what are the ingredients of successful collaborations?

  • Betty Cooke & Geoffrey Beene

    “I was at Bergdorf’s in the 1970s and Geoffrey Beene was unveiling a new collection. I didn’t know him personally or anything, I just always respected him. I think he’s a very good designer. I saw this short, good-looking man, and said, “I like your jacket,” and he said, “Thank you, I’m Geoffrey Beene” Then he said, “I like your jewelry.” I was wearing one of my chains with the circles. And I said “Thank you, I’m Betty Cooke”. It was funny. It was nice, a very friendly, warm sort of thing. He said he’d like to see more of my work and I arranged to come back up to New York. I brought him many examples of my gold and silver, including belts which I was making. I rolled them up on long sheets of purple felt and I unrolled them on his table. He told me how much he liked my presentation and asked me if I’d design for his next fashion show in Italy. I made several trips to New York. He’d show me what he was working on and say something like “I need a lot of bracelets for an arm,” or he’d look at my work and say, “I like this design, but I would like you to make it bigger.” Because I worked in gold and silver, to make things bigger would be too costly. So I started looking at stones and natural crystals in these little stores in the city. I loved working with stones so much that I started to incorporate them in my own work. Of course, I liked them a little smaller than the ones we used on the runway.” – Betty Cooke

  • Yves Saint Laurent & Claude Lalanne

    “Claude Lalanne observes the art of her time with her ironic and peaceful gray-green gaze. I often sought to collaborate with her. She created jewelry and sculptures for me, which I wrapped around my models. What touches me about her is that she is able to combine the same standards of craftsmanship and poetry. Her beautiful sculptor’s hands seem to push back the mists of mystery in order to reach the shores of art.” – Yves Saint Laurent

  • Elie Top & Alber Elbaz

    “It is parallel and confluent at the same time. My relationship with Alber is logical and simple. We need to work hand in hand. I work with his fabric samples and we create a story together. Sometimes the bijoux clash intentionally. Sometimes we will go for a very baroque collection offsetting his minimalistic design. It is about balance...there is a real exchange of ideas between us.” – Elie Top

  • Elsa Peretti & Halston

    “Back in 1969, when Elsa Peretti rather timidly designed a few pieces of silver jewelry—a buckle shaped like a heart and pendants like small vases—Halston and Giorgio di Sant'Angelo showed them with their collections and that was it.” – The New York Times, 1974

  • Alexander McQueen & Shaun Leane

    “We were both the same age, we both came from similar working-class backgrounds, we both had this energy—we wanted a voice, we wanted to create the new. Lee saw the hunger in me...He changed my world. He took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to think outside of the box. He made me the jeweler, and designer, that I am today.” – Shaun Leane

  • Robert Lee Morris & Donna Karen

    “She would try to describe a feeling. I would go into the studio and play with images. It was a 50/50 discovery creation. And we created the jewelry look of the time.” – Robert Lee Morris