An iconic cuff worn by Coco Chanel; a curb link watch synonymous with Greta Garbo; and gold cigarette cases commemorating every musical composed by Cole Porter, are just a few of the unique items you will see at “The Power of Style: Verdura At 75.” This year is the 75th anniversary of Duke Fulco di Verdura opening his doors on Fifth Avenue. Verdura, the jewelry company that carries his name, is celebrating with a museum worthy exhibit.
Duke Fulco di Verdura began his career working with Coco Chanel in Paris where he created her signature Maltese Cross cuffs. In 1934, Verdura came to the United States, creating jewels for Hollywood stars, and the wealthy of American and European societies. In 1939, Verdura opened his store on Fifth Avenue in New York with the financial backing of Cole Porter and Vincent Astor. He was not trained as either a jeweler or an artist but his creations belie this reality. The exhibition features a selection of more than 150 of Verdura’s original jewels and objets d’art. There is also a small selection of his 10,000 gouache jewelry designs, archival materials, his personal miniature paintings, and period photographs. You can hear Verdura talk about his work and inspirations in a rare interview he did with WOR Radio.
What made the visit to the exhibit extraordinary was being given a tour by Chairman and CEO Ward Landrigan. He purchased the company in 1984, six years after Verdura’s death. Mr. Landrigan has said, “it’s been my dream to share Verdura’s genius with a wider audience and bring him the recognition he deserves as the single most influential jeweler of the 20th Century. I want people to know this amazing man, who he was and why his work changed everything.” Landrigan’s passion for Verdura is clear as he shares his personal experiences and tells the stories behind every piece in the exhibition
The exhibit was curated by Carolina and Reinoldo Herrera, and Patricia Lansing. It will be on view until December 23rd. Though it’s free, you will need timed tickets to attend. Be sure to take the guided tour too.