At the Winter Gala last October at the Neue Gallerie in New York, the fashion-forward co-chairwoman and socialite Jeanne Greenberg Rohaythn earned the best-dressed award for her General Mao-inspired YSL gown, and also for the jagged, tattoo-inspired black diamonds she wore from über-exclusive VBH. The Rome-based company from Vernon Bruce Hoeksema is fast becoming a creative rival of established jewelry houses as it rejects the sweet and gaudy and embraces styles more akin to the tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy, rather than the colored stone baubles from Bulgari.
VBH‘s cavernous Madison Avenue store teems with an impressive selection of haute joaillerie that references tribal ritualistic markings. Pieces of sinuous tattoolike swirls of varying patterns litter a whole group of dangling earrings, cufflinks, rings, brooches, and bracelets made even more sublime by black diamonds set in white gold with emphatic punctuations of black pearls, quartz, emerald, and rubies. A marcasite wire-mesh neckpiece, dangling earrings with white gold vertebrae and an exquisite series of sharp bangles in black diamonds crosshatched to a supple dark leather band continue the dark and romantic assault. But what truly identifies the VBH trademark are the sinister, whimsically macabre dragonfly and butterfly pins engulfed in noir diamonds.
Jeweler Catherine Angiel‘s Dangerous collection of pendants, earrings, bracelets, and rings ride this ink-inspired wave, enticing the wearer “to release inhibitions and explore a darker side,” says the designer. A watch from Jacob Arabo‘s — better known as Jacob the Jeweler — Five Time Zone Watch collection provides a sobering break from the usual badass bling-bling. The ink-like markings of clustered black diamonds in a new watch style balances hip-hop ostentation with understated chic. Boucheron takes a progressive leap from the classic in their Beaute Dangereuse collection, showing sapphire necklaces set in black and white diamonds in the shape of serpents. And at Loewe, intarsia of marcasite-like studs are used for serpentine lines on hand-embroidered travel bags, already an example of the trend expanding into different accessories categories.
As this spirit becomes more prevalent, it’s just a matter of time before it casts its shadow across the rest of the fashion world.
Photos: 1-3 VBH
Jacob & Co
Five Time Zone Watch