“Givenchy, the history of a genious”

This is something I was looking forward to this November, a visit to the first retrospective about the French fashion designer Hubert from Givenchy, a leyend in the history of fashion.

This is the first Givenchy’s exhibition in Spain, in the Thyssen Museum, and it’s also the first time this museum shows fashion. The show is comissioned by Givenchy himself and it’s a walk through the history of this great genious along the second half of the 20th century, since the first store was opened in 1952 in Paris.


A selection of almost 100 pieces coming from several museums and private collections from around the world, many of them still unpublished. They share the room with exquisite paintings from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection.

I had the priviledge of pay a visit to the show with Maria de Cuenca and a distinguish group of art lovers. Maria is a tourist guide and expert at Art and History, so the walk through the collection was even more entertaining thanks to her explanations and comments.


Among the pieces we enjoyed are a few designs from the high society along the 20th century. Iconic women like Jackqueline Kennedy, the Windsor duchess, Caroline of Monaco or even her muse and friend Audrey Hepburn. The master was Audrey’s designer in most of her most important movies, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s. There it was the black dress I’ve dreamt of so many times…


This dress has a very interesting background. I’ve read in many specialized pages some doubts that expert had regarding this dress: the fact that the dress that appears in the beginning of the movie didn’t have the cut in the skirt. This is even more obvious in the scenes where Audrey walks towards Tiffany. She moves very graciously but in short steps so it’s evident the dress is pretty tight. However the dress that appears in most of the promotions let Audrey shows the left leg.


Is this dress the one Givenchy designed for Audrey’s movie? Or maybe it’s an adapted design that Edith Head, Paramount Pictures Manager Designer did in the very last minute? Is it possible that the Givenchy’s model was considered too provocative and they decided to make it more demure?

I’m determined to find out more about this mysterious. If I get the correct answer, you’ll be the first ones to know.

In the meantime, if you have the chance, don’t miss this show, specially if you are a fashion art lover.






Bibliography and Timetable

@Museo Thyssen

Photography @María Vintage Photography

The Ava’s Jewelry Collection

Ava Gardner was a extremely beautiful, strong and impulsive…  She also was glamous and sensuality, and over all, a huge jewelry collector.

The actress was owner of a classic collection of jewelry most of them dated in the 60’s and 70’s. The style – surprisingly – is very discreet, opposite to Ava’s character.

One of the first jewels that was gathered was the engagement ring Mickey Rooney gave to her the day they announced their wedding. That happened in a party in Romanoff. The fabulouse piece had a stepped brilliant with a weight of 6.35 carats.

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Other of the most emblematic pieces among her collection was a very elegant set of diamond earrings, designed with the form of a bouquet, with intercangeable pendants: diamond drops with the form of a pear, jadeite pearls, impressive drops of emerald and diamonds or pearl crowned with diamonds. In the movie The Cassandra Crossing she wore these earrings with drops of pearls. It’s such a versatile piece with a classic and beautiful design.

Ava also had in her collection a magnificent ring with a Kashmir sapphire, a gift from Howard Hughes who the actress returned it to when they broke up their relationship. A Kashmir sapphire is not a normal gem. They are the most famous and wanted sapphires in the world since they have a superb blue color that gave them the name of “sapphires of velvet”. Due to the rarity of these stones, they are considered almost mythical.

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Kashmir sapphires are not usually shown to the public, not even in the most important auctions. For you to have an idea of the price and rarity, the last piece sold in an auction was at Christie’s, where one of these 22.66 carats treasures was sold for over 3 million dollars to an anonymous buyer.

Like the rest of the women in her generation, Ava loved the pearls. For her wedding with Frank Sinatra back in 1951 she chose wearing a pearl necklace together with earrings matching.

But the best piece in the collection was a ring with emerald and diamonds designed by Van Cleef&Arpels. The emeral, a piece of 4.6 carats with a perfect definition and a brilliant green color, was set into a circle of diamonds in 1961 in New York.

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Some other highlighted pieces in Ava’s collection were:

  • An appealing bracelet of diamonds designed by Cleef&Arpels in the beginning of the 60’s. This same brand also made two brooches of diamonds with the form of a flower. The center of one of them had emerald set.
  • And one more brooch made with diamonds and cultivated pearls from Mississippi. The form of this brooch was beatiful: An angel sat over a cloud with rubies as hearts.

It’s clear so far that the Ava’s preferred jeweler was Cleef&Arpels. They were the designers of almost all her most important pieces.

However, in comparisson with other contemporary actress, Ava’s collection was quite small. Small but the most beautiful and one of the best of the time.

In 1989 she decided to sell part of her collection in New York. The rest of the jewels was auctioned not long after her death in London.

She’ll be always remembered like “the most beautiful animal in the world” and her jewelry collection like one of the most distinguished in the time.

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“Hollywood Jewels” by Penny Proddow, Debra Healy and Marion Fasel



Sam Levin

The Assemblies’ dresses in the Georgian England

The title of the show says everything: “Georgian, Dresses for polite society”. Although “polite” is not the term I’d use, to be honest… I’d use “reach” more likely!

If the city of Bath is beautiful by itself, this exhibition makes it even more likely to be visited. There’s no excuse anymore!

For those of you who are not from the UK, Bath is a city situated in the South West of England, in Somerset and its origins are from the Roman period (43 B.C), when a Roman bath and a temple were built in the valley of the Avon River. However the Georgian period did this city really popular. That is exactly the time many of us imagine when we think of the medieval times: sumptuous dresses and wonderful jewelry worn by those who happened to be born within the High Society.

Georgian - Dress for polite society 2 - Vintage by Lopez-Linares

Across Bath walked the Assemblies on their way to those famous local meetings that were popularize in the 18th century. But don’t think their events had something in common with our current Assemblies, since their meetings were huge parties to chat, show gallantry, play and over all, to dance. And then, their elegance dresses were crucial to show off how well positioned they were on society.

In 1771 the city – thanks to the quick grow in popularity – was worth housing a huge Assembly Room, today turned into the worldwide well-known Fashion Museum.

In total you’ll see 30 original gowns from the 18th century, each one worth admiring closely because of their distinguished fabrics. These clothes were made when George III was the King of England (his first years as the King) and show the most significant features of the High Society along two decades (1750 and 1760’s).

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If you have the chance to pay a visit, you’ll be lucky enough to closely admire the richly patterned woven silks and the hand-made embroidered coats and waistcoats.

The exhibition will show you in the last months how that old fashion has influenced in some way out current trends. Designers like Anna Sui, Meadham Kirchhoff, Vivienne Westwood, Stephen Jones or Alexander McQueen will complete the show with their 18th century-inspired men clothes.

The exhibition will be open until the first of January of 2016, so you have enough time to plan a luxurious visit to this dreamy city.

Source and images:  http://www.museumofcostume.co.uk/

Merle Oberon and the most photaphed Catier’s necklace

Merle Oberon was the alias of Estelle Merle O’Brien Thompson, a British actress who was born in Tasmania by the beginning of the 20th century. She is the first protagonist of our new section “Collectors of Jewelry of the History”

Merle Oberon was living in India until she was 17, when she moved out to London on the purpose of becoming a successful actress in cinema.

Her better good luck came when the productor and director Alexander Korda found out about her by chance back in 1930. He made her shine as one of the big ladies in British theatres during the 40’s. The ended up getting married and he was one of the first ones who started giving her away really expensive jewelry.


Merle Oberon wearing the necklace that Napoleon Bonaparte gave to Baroness Haussmann.

One of the very first pieces she acquired was an old necklace in diamonds and emeralds that apparently was a gift from Napoleon the Third to the Baroness Haussmann. It’s said that was his way to thank her for the role of her husband in the new and more modern Paris. Thanks to the alterations made in Paris, this city became in just two decades into the most modern capital in the world. Merle worn the piece in movies like The Divorce of Lady X and Of Love And Desire. Later Merle Oberon removed two tears to the necklace in order to make them earrings.

In 1939 after her marriage, Alexandre got her one of the pieces most beautiful in her collection (at least, it is to me): a Cartier’s piece made with three flowered-formed brooches. The one in the middle, the biggest one, has a charming detail on it: the pistils are diamonds with some movement which adds beauty to the whole piece. These brooches were originary designed to be worn as hair clips but Merle preferred to let them be brooches or even cameos. Sadly after she died the three pieces were sold separately.

There’s a curiosity here that you’ll love to know: a few years later, the Princess Elizabeth of England would get a especial wedding gift from the Prince Philip of Greece: a tiara with three identical flower-formed clips designed by Cartier. Elizabeth II removed them to wear them separately and she did so in many occasions.


Merle Oberon wearing the Cartier’s three-flowered clip that was supposed to be a hair clip in the origins. Photocourtesy of Fine Art America

However, the most amazing piece within her collection is a necklace of diamonds and 29 emeralds from the Baroque that Korda gave her in 1939. The piece fitted her very nicely due to her exotic beauty. The necklace has a very original design for the time especially because of the sensual and elegant form the emeralds are linked.

The story of this piece is very curious indeed and show how humans always want badly what others have. It seemed the necklace meant to be acquired by the designer Elsa Schiaparelli. However Merle saw it in a store in Paris and when she asked the seller about it, she was said the piece had another admirer. Merle didn’t believe the man and thought it was a strategy to sell it to her. After a few days she realized the seller was right when she passed by the store and the jewel had gone. Her mysterious rival was in a fitting room trying on the piece.

The day after Merle went back to the shop to see if the necklace was still there and she saw how Elsa Schiaparelli leaving the place. She came back so devastated that her husband went out, straight away to the jeweller’s and after asking for the piece he surprisingly got it. The stunning 29 emerald will shine in her exotic neckline from that moment onwards.

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Merle enjoyed that necklace until she died. 

Cartier 1938, 29 stunning Baroque emeralds like tears, linked with platinum and diamonds, 44 cm long and finished in 2,642,500 CHF. This is one of the Cartier’s necklace most photographed ever.

Link to the necklace in the Catalog Antiquorum

Other pieces in her collection:


  • A set of two clips designed by Cartier with flowered diamonds, one with the pistil in diamonds and the other with rubies. They might be worn together of separately. Other option was making a bracelet with them. Merle had this bracelet in the movie Til We Meet Again in 1940.
  •   A brooch with saphires and diamonds by Cartier, also detachable to wear as a clip. The piece was set with an oval saphire and petals in diamonds. The stem (also in diamonds) was sold separately. Merle worn this piece many times, not only the clip but also the brooch as a short necklace. I’m sure Merle loved Cartier’s jewelry and the versality of his work.
  •  By the end of the 50’s and 60’s she acquired and changed a big amount of jewelry. She spent a time living in Rome where she got a Bulgari’s brooch with diamonds and rubies. Bulgari also created for her an elegant bag in a non-conventional design (acorn).
  • Van Cleef&Arpels was other of the preferred Merle’s designers during the 70’s. Among her collection is a set of a brooch, earrings and a necklace with turquoises and diamonds in pink that could be transformed into a brooch and a bracelet.
  •  Merle also had a small but good collection of rubies that included an spectacular necklace by David Webb who also made for her a ring and earrings with a big oval ruby in the center.

Most of these pieces were sold in an auction in New York back in 1980, exactly a year after she passed away.

Merle Oberon had a really beautiful and huge jewelry collection.

Pictures and biography






 “Hollywood Jewels” by Penny Proddow, Debra Healy and Marion Fasel

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Richard Avedon

One more month with my project “The Magic Lens”. Time passes by so quickly!

Our protagonist this month has been my friend Araceli Calabuig who chose Richard Avedon as our master photographer to replicate in July. And Monica Giannini has been one more time my adorable model. Without her this challenge wouldn’t have been possible.

Richard Avedon was the photographer who made us witnesses of 70 years of history. He was a revolutionary fashion specialist who made his models myths of the history. After his work, fashion photography never was the same. The best fashion magazine are inspired in his artwork yet today.

From his life’s work I choose the elegance and essense of his portraits. He knew how to suprise with something that looks so easy like having someone posing with a white background. Hamphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando or Marilyn Monroe were some of his many models.

I’ve read the way he used to get the essense of his protagonists was easy and very effective at the same time: exhaust them, not only psychology but also physically. Sometimes, over four hours of work in front of the camera was enough for the model to show the real personality.

Richard Avedon was a great artist able to surprise not only by capturing the luxury and glamour. His work with social class injustice has been the cover of many newspapers worldwide.

Richard Avedon passed out in October 2004 as a result of a brain hemorrage he had when he was working. From then onwards he has been beating records. One of his photographs, the most emblematic, was sold for as much as 840,000 euros a few years ago.

Let me show you now the images Monica and I selected and copy, during a very hot summer evening. A white background, a non-stop spotlight and a huge wish of learning and learning… I hope you like them!
















Why are all things Vintage so in Fashion?

We have now been continuously hearing this word for years. We hear it in relation to fashion, decoration, cooking, art, crafts, floristry and design in general… From cars to electrodomestics everything can qualify under this term. Vintage sells.

However, what is so attractive about vintage items? Why has this special style of pastel tones and perfect finishes returned yet again?

For me, Vintage is a synonym for exclusivity, quality, good materials and, of course, craftsmanship. Vintage is a synonym for something well done or well made in the past.

If you think about lace, velvet ribbons, wild flowers, antique books, black and white photographs, hidden treasures in a chest, furniture stored in an old loft, you’re thinking about Vintage.

Thanks to this love for handmade things, and for unique and irreplaceable pieces, we have recovered a great deal of lost traditions. We knit and do crochet and bobbin lace making. I know various clubs and societies in which lovers of the art of knitting can get together once a week in order to share patterns and chat about wools, needles, scarves and fabric slippers.

We baked cakes and cupcakes so colourful and detailed that it was a shame to eat them, yet they had come from recipes recovered from our grandmother’s forgotten cookbooks.

The art of calligraphy has returned, we have started to write postcards and cards again, classes are given on how to write with a quill pen or on how to make wax seals. What would make you especially happy, receiving a card by post or by email? In my opinion, especially if the address of the card delivered is written by hand, it would seem as if the best present had just arrived for me.

Vintage photography is a contagious fever. Editing in black and white, sepia or with textures is all but an art that takes us back to the beginning of photography, when each photograph was revealed without really knowing what you were going to find.

Different sensations are recovered and shared. The “Do it Yourself” is in fashion and goes hand in hand with Vintage. You can disconnect, chat and exchange ideas, whether its face to face or over internet forums.

This is the secret of Vintage. You can recover human contact, passionate recoveries and values which had been buried with the passing of years. Manual work, well made things, eye for detail, perfect finishes…

It’s due to this that we like designs from the 20s, 30s, 40s… These years reunite all of the characteristics of which we had previously spoken, each and every one of them belongs to these years. It is because of this that we search for this aesthetic, and that’s why these great designers continue to look at these years when the time comes to launch a new collection.

Vintage is a style marked by the retro exclusivity and by the magic of well made things, that’s why Vintage sells. It has been selling for years and everyday it sells more and more.

We will continue enjoying this style and go with its flow…