For decades, I’ve admired it from afar — and now I’m gawking at it through the glass display case in Van Cleef & Arpels’ newest boutique in Neiman Marcus. I’m simply awed by the intricacy involved in crafting the iconic zipper necklace. Yes, call me gobsmacked by this clever design, which is as functional as it is beautiful — not to mention utterly limited; I’m told there are less than a handful available worldwide. Nicolas Bos, Van Cleef & Arpels’ creative director, admits he’s not sure if style setter Wallis Simpson (aka the Duchess of Windsor) designed the piece herself or collaborated with her friend Renee Puissant, who was VC&A’s artistic director at the time (circa 1930), or head-huddled with designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who was one of the first couturiers to bring the once-industrial fastener into high fashion. No matter. The handcrafted result — each tooth fastidiously and precisely made with gold — allowed the Duchess and any other woman fortunate enough to drape one about her clavicle to wear it at any length desired. Now, may I try it on please? Price upon request, at the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique at Neiman Marcus.
IMAGE: Van Cleef & Arpels Collier Zip necklace in white gold with diamonds, turquoise and chrysophrase