One of the enduring legacies of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was her elevation of costume jewelry to high fashion. Maison Gripoix, a house that has serviced the couture industry since its founding in 1869, was among her earliest and most frequent collaborators. The company’s specialized pate de verre (glass paste) technique was developed by the founder, Augustine Gripoix, and passed down generationally. Instead of the kiln method employed by other manufacturers, the house pours molten glass directly into the sophisticated metal settings that frame its designs. This meticulous an costly process allows for greater freedom of coloration and form, and lends a subtle effervescence to the floating glass components. This wreath of graduated translucent flower heads (circa 1938) was produced by Gripoix for Chanel and reflects the late 1930s vogue for romantic nature-based motifs.
Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.