Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cooper Hewitt: Set in Style

Jerome and I had the opportunity to attend the opening reception to the Cooper-Hewitt Van Cleef & Aprels jewelry exhibit which opened February 18.  Museum receptions offer members a sneak peak at the opening exhibit, while offering a themed evening to remember - a token of its appreciation for its members. 

The Van Cleef & Aprels exhibit, which is on display through June 5, showcases more than 300 timeless jewelry pieces that were worn by the likes of Grace Kelly and Liz Taylor.  The exhibit explores the historical significance of the firm's contribution to design in the 20th century - which is vast to say the least.  With that many individual pieces laid out in dome glass cases, I expected to see a pattern or repetition in the work.  Luckily I was wrong.  The design and craftsmanship behind each necklace, brooch, ring, compact, purse, and ring was stunning.  Of course the dime sized jewels, including blood red rubies and flawless diamonds, certainly made an impression it really was the settings, detail and unique personality of each piece that made an impact. My favorite piece was a heavy, emerald necklace that would make a stunning centerpiece on my neck.

But, enough about the exhibit. On to the party.

Many of Van Cleef & Aprels' pieces utilized nature as inspiration, particularly butterflies.  The event production team carried that theme into the reception space, creating an outdoor wonderland of trees, swirling butterflies and  fake grass.  The event space, which was a long white tent erected in patio space behind the museum, was lite in dark blues and blacks.  The ceiling of the tent featured a projection of dark, ominous sky.  All together it set the scene for the city's best people watching.  A DJ bumped beats from pop to jazz artists while New Yorker's between the ages of 90-20 swaggered into the room.  Women were primarily dressed to showcase their style, from an all-white 3-piece long skirt suit trimmed in white fur at the collar and sleeve cuffs to a tight black halter dress, 5 inch platform heels and a shaved head.  The sights outside in the reception tent were almost as eye-catching as the jewelry inside the museum. 

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