Yesterday, I was privileged to be permitted to visit with one of the greatest and most legendary purveyors of fashion and style of the 20th century. I speak of Verdura whose name and founders are synonymous with some of the greatest style icons of fashion as well as Hollywood’s and society’s grand dames. For the uninitiated, Verdura is the iconic jeweler who will forever be remembered as the “maker” and designer of Mademoiselle Chanel’s Maltese cross cuffs, which by the way, I got to hold in my hands as Mr. Landrigan (CEO) was kind of enough to retrieve them from the vault.
Besides Mlle. Chanel, Duke Fulco di Verdura was more than acquainted with the likes of Diana Vreeland, Greta Garbo, Babe Paley, Marlene Dietrich, the Porters, a few Astors, a Hepburn, and countless other luminaries who remained loyal clients during their lifetimes. Many of the original designs that once belonged to these ladies are still available provided that you shop at the salon above Fifth Avenue in NYC or at one of the rare points of sale worldwide.
Lest I forget to mention the Duchess of Windsor, Mona Bismarck and Millicent Rogers; if none of these names are familiar to you; you can just be awed by the genius of the design and construction that goes into every one of these exquisite pieces that are still turned out by “the jeweler to the stars.”
After the prodigiously talented Signor Verdura, the Landrigans took ownership of the legendary name and archive. The interesting part is that the business remains an open secret amongst the cognoscenti as there are less points of sale in the world and 2 of them are in New York City. They have no wish to turn the name Verdura into a Tiffany & Co. or even a Cartier, which would have meant that the product become a much more available entity. This rather brilliant mind-set / business model is what allows the brand to retain its allure, cachet and mystique which are coveted qualities in today’s marketplace for any luxury category.
As Mr. Landrigan said, “Our jewelry is like art for the body,” and I must say it is the equivalent of owning any Monet or Picasso painting as they are all meant to be treasured in much the same ways except one wouldn’t wear their Picasso to a gala.
The salon’s aura in New York City invites the serious and not the curiosity seeker that is found street level at its neighbors. Just as its beginnings, Verdura remains unrivaled when it comes to fine jewelry and is still considered to be a signature of consummate taste. With its ownership comes a privilege of possessing a piece of great history as all the Verdura designs have descended from the hand of the eponymous designer. | Jeffrey Felner