Simonetta Vespucci, muse of the Renaissance

Many of you don’t probably know the name of the muse who inspired this painting. However, the Sandro Botticelli’s Venus is one of the first images we think of when we refer to the Renaissance. Her long and blonde hair, the white skin and that beautiful, virgin but also sad look captivated many men souls in the Florence of the 15th century. It was the artista Sandro Botticelli who made her a goddess by becaming Simonetta Vespucci into his muse.

Simonetta –whose Maiden name was Cattaneo – was a Genoese noble’s daughter and she got married when she only was 16 with a neighbour of Botticelli, a well-educated man from a wealthy family who apparently fell in love with her the same moment he saw her.


Rumors say her beautiful appearance and well-adjusted beauty deserved the praise of the powerful Medici, patrons of many artists. Art historians agree she was the most beautiful woman in the Renaissance. She definitely was the most representative woman in the time.

Her image is always linked to a sad love story worthy of a Shakespeare’s poem. The artista was so obsessed with her that he reproduced her in one of his master pieces, The Birth of Venus (1484), finished almost 10 years after her death, like a posthumous homage.

Simonetta, commonly known as “the beauty”, also was the main character in Venus and Mars, and most of the woman who posed for the master were actually her lookalike. A love through the painting, rumors said. A sort of platonic love is what the artist might have felt.

The Boticellis Venus and her brooch - Venus and Mars - Historic Jewels in Vintage By Lopez-Linares

Simonetta passed away when she was very young, only 23, because of a tuberculosis. Boticelli then –who never got married- asked being buried by the feet of her platonic love, in the All Saints Church in Florence, where both remains rest since 1510… together.

Simonetta’s life, despite the admiration she caused and the attentions she got, was mostly sad. Time was not able to dry her beauty of a nymph, her virgin sweetness because illness took her too early. Botticelli made everything in his hand to keep her alive through the times and centuries and made of her the universal muse of the Renaissance, a muse admired still today.

Artículo escrito por @Esther Ginés



With “B” for “Brooch”

The root of a brooch is the fibula, a piece as old as the Bronze Age.

The use like we know it today – piece of jewelry – started during the Classic period. It was used to hold or fasten the traditional heavy clothes.

Over the years, this piece became into an ornament with the only purpose of decoration. Nowadays it’s a considered a vintage jewelry for women to be worn over the lapel, dresses or a scarf.


It’s made of two solded pieces: the decorative part and the safety pin to clip it to the fabric. And I say “safety” because brooches usually have a security system to help keep it fastened to the clothe and therefore avoid the loss.

It’s also usual to find a hidden piece into the brooch. We have a few of the kind in our vintage collection. It’s a sort of ring that can be opened in order to pass a chain that will allow you to use it as a necklace.

Many women collect them, and it’s frequent to find brooch collectionists specialized in just a given form of the piece, like bows, ladybugs, dragonflies and the kind.

It’s a gorgeous piece of jewelry that will always match your gown to help make it more elegant and timeless.


In oder to show you how a good choice of a brooch can be your ideal accesory to finish your attire more elegant, let me use the well-known saying “to close with a golden brooch”, which means that the matter you are talking about needs that final touch to make it just perfect.

Images: @María Vintage Photography


Virginia Woolf: The art of writing that only lost against illness

The big screen brought to us a few years ago the image of one more woman ahead of her time: the British Virginia Woolf (played by Nicole Kidman). She was a novelist, essay writer, editor, an active feminist and one of the most representative personalities in London in the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays, she is considered among the best and most innovative writers of that time.

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Born within a well educated family, she was in constant touch with the cultural environment. “A woman should have money and own a room if she means to write fiction”, she said, because her life wasn’t easy – in spite of the fact that her family was wealthy – The life of the writer of Orlando (her biography) was troubled with mental illness. Her parent’s death (specially her father’s) was the beginning of several mental breakdowns and a depression that lead her to commit suicide years after.


Virginia Woolf always suffered from bipolar disorder, but the severe moral in the time stopped her from talking about these episodes in her autobiographies. However, she was strong enough to beat the illness for a while only with her writing. Her husband, Leonardo Woolf also was always a big support. He was an economist and writer, member of the well-knkown group Bloomsbury. They got married whe she was 30 and they always had a huge affinity. They both together launched a publishing house that published, among others, Sigmund Freud or T.S. Eliot’s biggest hits.

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In 1941, with Europe in the middle of a war, Virginia Woolf threw herself to the river Ouse. In her emotional suicide note she showed once more time her loyalty to her husband with these words: “You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer (…) If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been”

Despite her important literary work and her being in the cultural life of the time, after her death Virginia Woolf’s writing dissapeared, until the feminist movement recovered it during the 60’s. It was then when her work revived to become into one of the English biggest novelists. She was terribly engaged wiht her time and other people who, like her, loved the writing. Virginia Woolf was a model of personal and professional development and she passed on us a magnificent work of fiction writing and essays.







“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.

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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:

Mary Dayton Richards; A bride from the end of the 19th century

Mary Dayton Richards (1842-1921) and Milton Brayton Graff (1840-1877) were married in 1869 in Manhattan. By that time, the wedding gowns were long and with a elliptical skirt. However the trend for brides was about to change.

She – who was very thin – decided to wear a beautiful dress in pure white made in a kind of shiffon. Nowadays it’s not common anymore for brides to wear such a white dress but other tonalities of white like cream or ivory.

The sort of shiffon she used was origin from India and it was very similar to muslin but with a thinner weave and a rigid consistency.


Mary’s dress was a very common model back in the 19th century: it was modest with a demure style like the fashion rules dictated in the time. It had a cute bodice with round neckline and central set of buttons, with a little arpon made of flounces in the same fabric that the rest of the dress. Of course, since the fabric was so transparent, it had a cotton lining to show consistency.

The sleeves were semi transparent as they didn’t get the cotton lining below from the elbow down.

The superb skirt was made by a couple of overskirts (one shorter than the other) resting over a petticoat, with an undulating ending in the same fabric. The drawing was actually a bit modern for the time.


Mary and Milton were married in Manhattan, where she was born, although the couple got back to the groom’s home – Cincinnati – right after the ceremony. He was working there as a psychologist.

They lived together with Milton’s parents, Jacob and May Ann Graff in the west of the city. Between 1850 and 1890 the wealthy businessmens built there impressive Italian-style houses and the area started being called “The Walk of the Millionaires”.

Sadly, the marriage was broken in just a few years due to Milton’s death in 1875. After 5 years, Mary built her own house in Glendale (Ohio), in a community only 15 miles away from Cincinnati.

Glendale was the summer house for rich people from Cincinnati, who wanted to scape from the noise and contamination of a big city. Probably was that and the quite surroundings what grabbed Mary’s attention. She lived there with her two children until she died in 1921.

129, Dayton Street


Wedded Perfection. Cynthia Amnéus.


Wedded Perfection. Cynthia Amnéus.

Google Maps


With J: Jewel or “Jewelry”

Today, let me talk from my own experience. To me, a jewel is a piece that given its sentimental value is worthy of being considered such, regardless of the economic price of the material the piece is made of. In addition, “jewelry” is to me the art of creating accessories in gold, silver, platinum or precious pearls.

Traditionally jewels have been used by men and women as a distinctive sign of power and social status. Although females are more likely to wear jewels, men also have many pieces to enjoy like cufflinks, rings, bracelets…

The value of a jewel is determined by the metal it has been made of, as well as the weight, the carve, the purity and the colour of the parts on it.

Within the jewelry I differentiate two categories: It’s not the same talking about an ancient hand-made jewel than talking about newest pieces that include a mechanic process in its creation.


Back in 1805 Napoleon Bonaparte ordered to Etienne Nitot the design and creation of his own coronation jewels. That was the begining of the jewelry in the 19th century, using totally different techniques. That year accentuated the line between the hand-made art and the modern jewelry. Brands like Cartier, Tiffany, Bulgari and Fabergé opened their first stores in Paris, New York, London and Moscow.  It was the beginning of the most fruitful era in jewels design and fabrication.

Over the 19th century it was common working the 9, 12 and 15 carats gold. From 1850 onwards the machines appeared to help reduce costs. Years after, the Industrial Revolution changed materials and techniques, adding stainless steel, titanium, plastics, fiberglass, ceramic or wood.

Further on we’ll talk about costume jewelry and we’ll try to explain the differences between these two concepts.


The Garden of the Angel

Thinking of coming to Madrid soon? Then, you should come over and see the space I’m recommending today. You’ll know why in a few seconds.

I’m talking about a florist that offers much more than flowers. An elegant and quite corner within the old Madrid, in the downtown with a history behind that deserves to be told by the owners themselves.

I discovered this lovely place when I was walking around the Barrio de las Letras, during a nice Sunday morning. I’d never seen it before, or at least, I had never paid attention.

Its history has a very long tail… It’s a three centuries history actually! That long ago this little spot was the cemetery of the San Sebastian Church. The graveyard kept existing the same way until the last years of the 19th century. It was 1889 when the Martin family (owner of the site) decided to rent it to the church to make a garden center. From then onwards its walls made on glass could tell us a lot about loads of adventures and misterious stories.

It was mentioned by Benito Pérez Galdós (Spanish writer from the 20s) in his novel “Misericordia” and the place still keeps the intimacy of the old cemetery along with the essence of its great past. The business never closed its doors, not once. It was open even during the Civil War in Spain.

Nowadays is a dream place, a lovely garden where besides purchase beautiful flowersm you can enjoy arquitectura and the peace that comes out its walls. Imagine being surrounded by calm, serenity, green color and the most amazing style, in the heart of one of the most fabulous neighborhoods in town.



El jardín del Angel (The Garden of The Angel)

C/ Huertas 2

Madrid 28012

Magdalena Strozzi


Magdalena Strozzi was Agnolo Doni’s wife, a rich businessman and a patron in Florence. This singular portrait was painted by Rafael back in 1506. It seems it was an order from Agnolo Doni as a wedding gift and also because of the birth of his first-born son. The idea was to have it in a diptych in order to have both celebrations together forever. The last studies indicate they were taken out from the same tree.

This painting is quite similar to the one made by Leonardo Da Vinci, the well-known Mona Lisa. It’s said Da Vinci’s artwork was the inspiration that took Rafael to portray Magdalena Strozzi, something clear if you compare both portraits.

The Lady appears with a very open neckline, something common by the times and also wears big detachable sleeves in blue damask. The backline is a typical Tuscan landscape, as it happened in Mona Lisa. Also both women have the same exact posture.


The main difference with the Da Vinci’s artwork is that Magdalena appears here wearing her best jewelry: a magnificent pendant necklace ended in a big Pearl and 3 pieces in different colors, each one was a symbol of something special: The emerald reminds Magdalena chastity, the ruby symbolize how intense is her personality and the sapphire is talking about her purity. Lately, the pearl in the end symbolize fidelity.

This is the piece that grabbed all my attention. It amazed me so much that I didn’t stop until I found a master artisan in Florence who was able to make a piece as similar as possible.

And that is exactly what I’m showing to you today: that pendant necklace with such a history and able to transmit many feelings through its colors

Magdalena also wears a simple necklace apparently made in jet beads, that reminds me to the Lady With An Ermine.

This painting was eventually own by the Donia’s descendents, until 1826 when it was acquired by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopoldo II of Lorena, and it was included among the collections in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence

Here’s the unique jewel that Magdalena Strozzi wore back in 1506. I really hope you like it.