Van Cleef & Arpels
Nature has always been a subject that’s dear to Van Cleef & Arpels. In tracing the history of the Maison, delicate flora and enthralling fauna have appeared in the brand’s listings more times than one can count. One of the most notable creations that has sprung from this fascination is the lucky Alhambra. Inspired by the four-leaf clover, the range has been regularly revisited and refreshed since its inception in 1968—a poetic reference to the perpetual evolution of nature.
So with all that in mind, it’s no surprise that Van Cleef & Arpels has settled on the colour green for much of its output. The palette here ranges from the jewellery box’s light moss hue to the saturated green of malachite and emerald gems. The calming aura radiating from the colourway is also imparted to the premier jeweller’s boutiques and it is further amplified with the latest joint venture with French artist Alexandre Benjamin Navet.
A frequent collaborator of the house and the winner of the 2017 Grand Prix Design Parade Toulon Van Cleef & Arpels, Navet has brought plant shapes and dazzling colours into many of the brand’s majestic salons including its Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York. The large-format interior design concept sees copious supplies of flowers and bouquets unfurl across store facades and furnishings to welcome visitors and let them be immersed in the unfiltered world of Van Cleef & Arpels.
It’s all about burning passion at Cartier. The colour red, a universal symbol of love, began seeping through the jewellery maison circa 1920 or 1930. Stemming from a simple jewellery case, the crimson shade prevailed over a wide range of colours—from dark green and olive to antique pink—that were offered at the turn of the 20th century when Cartier opened its boutique on Paris’ exclusive precinct rue de la Paix.
The Cartier Red Box has since become a cornerstone of the brand and a catalyst of new ventures outside the realm of jewellery like the creation of the Guirlande de Cartier bag. Its prominence and influence have also been well-documented on the big screen: the box and the sparkling creations nestled within have appeared in cinematic gems such as Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, William Wyler’s How to Steal a Million and James Gray’s Two Lovers.
Fast forward to present day, the bold visual accent remains prominent across the Cartier domain. The Cartier Mansion on New York’s Fifth Avenue, for instance, is basically a larger-than-life version of the red box. With the red canopies embellishing its Neo-Renaissance facade and a portion of the interior decor boasting rich red leather walls and ceilings, the flagship boutique promises its patrons a full Cartier experience.
Tiffany & Co.
There have been few establishments in the luxury market that have mastered the art of colour association and Tiffany & Co. is decidedly one of them. The world-renowned Tiffany Blue, described as forget-me-not blue or robin’s egg blue, has been a staple at the American jewellery house since the late 19th century, precisely when it graced the cover of the 1878 Blue Book featuring the most extravagant handcrafted jewels.
Its brilliant cyan shade came about the same time when turquoise gemstone reached the pinnacle of fame. Back then, Victorian brides would present their attendants with a dove-shaped brooch set with the bluish-green stone as a wedding memento. That might explain the collective gasps you heard at the glimpse of the Tiffany Blue Box in Sweet Home Alabama as Patrick Dempsey dropped on one knee before Reese Witherspoon.
And while we’re at it, Tiffany & Co. having a significant presence in pop culture has only boosted the icon status of Tiffany Blue. From the many shopping scenes in Clueless, in which the brand’s signature blue bag was a commanding co-star, to that shot of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s gazing through the store window framed by silky drapes in a similar colour code, Tiffany & Co. has been effectively using the trademark colour to convey the notion of luxury and elegance synonymous to its brand.